One of the major themes of the History of Plymouth Plantation is, in fact, God's divine Providence. Throughout the book, Bradford interprets every event that occurs, both good and bad for the Pilgrims, as God's will, and connected to some divine purpose that was usually impossible for human beings to understand. On the voyage to Plymouth, for example, a very profane young man, who was given to blasphemy and insulting the pious Pilgrims, got very sick and died. Bradford reflects that this was surely God's way of chastening the people, reminding them of proper behavior for a Christian:
Thus his curses light on his own head, and it was an astonishment to all his fellows for they noted it to be the just hand of God upon him.
Bradford believed that whatever successes the Plymouth settlement experienced were the result of God's mercy and Providence, which would be extended to them only as long as they maintained their faith in God. Almost every event, good or bad, is prefaced by the phrase "it pleased God." "It pleased God," for example, "to visit them this year with an infectious fever," or to "send home a great quantity of beaver." Everything that happened to and around the Pilgrims portrayed by William Bradford was an example of God's will. So essentially, the main theme of the book is in fact God's providence.