John Smith vs. William Bradford

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John Smith vs. William Bradford
Laura Ward

To many Europeans in the early 17th century the Americas seemed as a new land of opportunity. John Smith and William Bradford were two of the first men who left England seeking adventure and freedom in the New World. Both groups had difficulties while trying to form their colonies and Smith and Bradford were both elected to lead. While they were both great leaders they had very different lives before their journey from England. While starting their new colonies they also took different approaches to making the land habitable. One of the most notable differences between John Smith and William Bradford was their writing style. John Smith and William Bradford were very different people in a number of ways.

John Smith was born in Willoughby, England in the year 1580. In his youth he attended school and worked on his fathers farm preparing himself for a similar career (Emerson 517). Smith, who was a self described thrill seeker decided on a life of adventure in the English army after the death of his father in 1596. After serving in the army for several years Smith joined the Virginia Company and set of to explore and settle North America.

Whether they were on land or sea the men of the Virginia Company faced many struggles with starvation and disease. Conditions on the ship were tolerable at best and the men quickly ran through supplies of food and only had water to drink. After landing in Virginia starvation and sickness killed almost half of the colonist who started the journey. Poor leadership was also a problem and Smith was elected to be president of the colony from 1608-1609 (Emerson 517). Smith described himself as a strong leader who "set some to mow, some to bind thatch, and some to build houses while always bearing the greatest task for his own share" (Smith 68). Smith was a boastful man and may have exaggerated in his writing but it is likely that some of the decisions he made may have...
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