In History of Plymouth Plantation, how would one describe the Puritan worldview as presented by Bradford upon their arrival in the New World? For example, in the last paragraph of Chapter 9,...

In History of Plymouth Plantation, how would one describe the Puritan worldview as presented by Bradford upon their arrival in the New World? For example, in the last paragraph of Chapter 9, Bradford writes, "But hear I cannot but stay and make a pause, and stand half amased at this poore peoples presente condition; and so I thinke will the reader too, when he well considera the same [...] Besides, what could they see but a hideous  and desolate wilderness, full of wild beasts and will men?"

Essentially, the Puritans broke away from England, which they believed was corrupt due to the Church, to the New World (essentially Satan's land thanks to the evil "savages" that were so ubiquitously living there), which is even moreso corrupt. How do you think they consolidated these factors psychologically into their reasoning for why it was necessary for them to be there?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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One aspect of the Puritan worldview that Bradford articulates in History of Plymouth Plantation is that there force of the divine is what guides all human action.  It is through this belief in the divine that the Puritans were able to consolidate the corruption in their past and the perceived savagery intrinsic to their present.  Bradford speaks of a world view that asserts that human sustenance is only possible through a relentless faith in the divine:

What could now sustain them but the Spirit of God and His grace? May not and ought not the children of these fathers rightly say: Our fathers were Englishmen which came over this great ocean, and were ready to perish in this wilderness; but they cried unto the Lord, and He heard their voice and looked on their adversity.

The world view that the Puritans possessed is one where the powerful notions of the divine guided individual actions.  The "Spirit of God and His grace" sustain the individual.  The forces that would precipitate a sense of doom and "perish in this wilderness" are offset by the "Lord."  This faith in the divine is a critical aspect in the Puritanical worldview that Bradford articulates.  

Let them therefore praise the Lord, because He is good: and his mercies endure forever. Yea, let them which have been redeemed of the Lord, show how He hath delivered them from the hand of the oppressor. When they wandered in the desert wilderness out of the way, and found no city to dwell in, both hungry and thirsty, their soul was overwhelmed in them.  Let them confess before the Lord His lovingkindness and His wonderful works before the sons of men.

Bradford's vision of the Puritan worldview is one in which humans will be delivered through the power of the divine.  The struggles that were faced and the ones that will be faced can be navigated as a result of the faith in the divine.  Bradford's vision of the Puritan world view places primacy on external deliverance.  In submitting to the will of the Lord, Bradford's framing of the Puritan worldview is one that unifies fragmented and competing elements.  Through this vision, Bradford depicts a Puritan world view that places complete faith and total dependence on the divine for individual endurance and salvation.

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