Perhaps what we fail to realize is that the Puritan belief of Divine Providence consumed every single aspect of the Puritan lifestyle. From the moment they woke up, until the moment they crawled back into bed, the inhabitants of the first settlements of New England believed that the cause of every occurrence was the Christian God. Every action, and it's according reaction, was directly designed and destined to happen because God chose it to be so. William Bradford, one of these Puritans, was not only the first governor of the first Puritan settlement, Plymouth, but was also it's first historian. Our first accounts of the Plymouth inhabitants, in turn, come to us by way of Bradford's detailed accounts of what happened at Plymouth Plantation. However, one can argue that because of Bradford's Puritan beliefs, his account may be slightly biased, and not completely precise as to what truly happened at the Plymouth settlement. Or perhaps Bradford's account is completely accurate, and it is only a matter of the reader's perceptive of William Bradford's account. When taken into account, that the Puritans focused every cause of nature and chance, as God's will, then Bradford's account can almost certainly be discarded as a religiously biased novelty tale, slightly based on the truth about what happened at Plymouth, but if viewed at a more intellectual level, then the reader can grasp that although Bradford's account does reason most of it's events with Divine Providence, the physical occurrences of the events are completely truthful and factual. From the falling of the "very profane young man...of a lusty, able body"(Bradford, 24) into the sea because of his seemingly haughty nature, to the Mayflower reaching Cape Harbor after suffering a mass loss of sailors and a broken mast (Bradford, 26), the endless appearance of Divine Providence in Bradford's account is clearly evident proof that the religious installation of Providence consumed every action of how the Puritans approached situations in which they were placed. Whether it was dealing with the ailing health their settlement underwent the first winter they spent in the New World (Bradford, 23), or their dealings with the indigenous American people they encountered upon their explorations of the lands farther west of Plymouth (Bradford, 30), the Puritans worried little; because whatever was to be was already destined and preplanned by their God, in his plan for their salvation and receiving of his grace. When looking at the account from a modern day, non-religious perspective, it is possible to envision the events as Bradford witnessed them himself. The physical action of a man falling off a boat, and an indian helping the white man grow corn are historical truths in their own rights, and cannot be changed from the truth by any religious perspective. How and why these actions occurred, however, can be reasoned differently. William Bradford was a brilliant writer, one whom because of his religious background, wrote about events and occasions in a way much different to how we would see them in modern day. This should not however, impact in any way the reliability of the historical context. Religious truths and historical truths have always and will always continue to be clashing titans. Perhaps one day the line that separates the two will disappear, and the real truth will become all that is apparent.
The History of Plymouth Plantation: God
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Written by: Cautionwett
The presence of God is evident in the passage from The History of Plymouth Plantation in every event significant or not. In his diary, William Bradford describes several occurrences in which God played a major role in deciding the outcome. According to Bradford, God can help or hurt according to His will. The first of these displays of God’s will in this passage was of revenge toward a sailor. He was as Bradford described him “a proud and very...
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