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Why did the Pilgrims found the Plymouth Colony?

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D. Reynolds eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The Puritans founded the Plymouth Colony for two reasons: they wanted religious freedom, and they wanted to maintain their distinctive cultural Englishness.

The Puritans were Dissenters, meaning they critiqued and ultimately rejected the Church of England, the official state religion of Great Britain. In Britain at that time, there was no religious freedom, so people who did not attend Church of England services and pay tithes to support the church were subject to fines and arrest.

To escape that persecution, the Puritans first moved to the Netherlands, a country which offered religious freedom. However, they found their children were assimilating to the culture and becoming Dutch. Not wanting that, the group returned to England but again faced persecution. They finally felt they had no alternative but to try to settle in the New World. They thought Native American culture too different to imagine their children would be assimilated into it, and they knew America would offer the religious freedom they craved.

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Joelle Robison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The Pilgrims were a group of Puritans who wanted to separate from the Church of England. They felt that the Church of England could not be fixed, so instead of trying to reform it like other Puritans, they wished for total separation. Due to their religious beliefs, they faced persecution in England and were often imprisoned or fined. As a result, they left England for various places in the Netherlands in 1609, where they developed a stable congregation but struggled with the customs and language. Many feared losing their identity as children started assimilating to the Dutch ways, which the Pilgrims thought to be immoral. Additionally, many rural farmers struggled with the urban culture. Although they found religious freedom, they were concerned about the future of their religion, so they sought another refuge. The Pilgrims, with the help of investors, established a new colony. In 1620, they started arriving in Plymouth, where they were free to live their Puritan lifestyle.

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