Mayflower Questions and Answers
by Nathaniel Philbrick

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What beliefs and character traits that typified the Pilgrims enabled them to survive in the hostile environment that greeted them in the New World? Did some of the same traits that helped them survive limit them in other ways? How so?

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Philip Arrington eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The Pilgrims were originally known as Separatists because they wanted to separate from the Church of England, select their own leaders, and establish their own practices. The persecution they endured as a result of their beliefs caused them to flee to Holland. However, this was unsatisfactory, because they wanted to retain their English language and way of life. The leaders eventually decided to relocate to America. They obtained two ships to transport the colonists to the New World, the Speedwell and the Mayflower. Because the Speedwell quickly developed leaks and had to return to England, the Mayflower carried on the voyage alone.

The Pilgrims, who called themselves Saints, were joined by numerous other colonists, whom they referred to as Strangers. The voyage was rough, and many passengers became sick on the way. They were originally supposed to settle near the Virginia Colony, but bad weather caused them to change their plans and settle on the shore of Cape Cod in Massachusetts. Because...

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