The Puritans and Cherokees: Shaping Today’s American Dream

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The Puritans and Cherokees: Shaping Today’s American Dream

The Puritans during the 1600s wanted change, they wanted to leave the ways of the Old World and set sail to a land of new beginnings and new ideals. After years of corruption and impurities set forth by the church in England, the Puritans began a quest for their own manifest destiny and ventured across the Atlantic Ocean, and established themselves in Massachusetts. John Winthrop, lead these Puritans to the Americas and wrote a speech “City Upon a Hill,” (in 1630) that would mold the ideals of these purists, know as the Puritans. What Winthrop may not have anticipated is that this documentation would stand through the tests of time and carry some of those same ideals into the twenty first century. Through the readings of “City Upon a Hill” and Ties that Bind, by Tiya Miles; we can see how pieces of American history have helped shape today’s ideals of the American dream. Winthrop believed that individuals who worked hard, had a strong sense of community and shared a sense of differed gratification would prosper to heaven.

The Puritans believed that hard work was the only way to live; if they didn’t work hard then they would perish. By laboring together they thought they could make something of themselves and satisfy God, “Wee must be willing to abridge our selves of our superfluities, for the supply of others necessities,” (Winthrop, 1630). The Cherokees held similar ideals, but instead of working hard to assure them a place in heaven, they worked hard to keep their spiritual balance. One example of how the Cherokee kept their spiritual balance was their relationship with animals. They didn’t cage their animals, therefore they may have spent days tracking an animal, and instead of simply killing an animal for its meat, everything was used for something and a prayer was said to the animal for sacrificing it’s body. Miles writes, “… animals played a sacrificial role in sustaining Cherokee lives,”...
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