Themes

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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 209

History of Plymouth Plantation by William Bradford, the then-governor of Plymouth Plantation, chronicles two decades of the colony's history. As a governor who had served for thirty years, Bradford had an intimate knowledge of Plymouth Plantation. Bradford details the beginnings of the colony, as well as significant events that happened there, such as the first Thanksgiving with the Native American population.

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The theme of this journalistic work was the recounting of the colony's history through a colonist's perspective. Bradford also detailed the struggles that the colonists faced, such as near-famine and complex relations with the native population.

Because the original immigrants who populated the colonies were Puritans, there is a persistent theme related to God, Christian values, and a belief that lucky events were due to divine intervention. In fact, Bradford writes about many well-known founders of colonies, such as Roger Williams, who founded Providence, Rhode Island. The religion of the colonists believed in the providence of the Christian deity, and such beliefs are interspersed throughout the book.

Likewise, when the colony experienced tragedies or misfortune, Bradford believed that it was due to God's discontent with the pilgrims' level of faith. The religious themes of this historical account serve as an important journalistic record of the colony's social life.

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