William Bradford and Of Plymouth Plantation

Of Plymouth Plantation William Bradford was born in 1590 in Austerfield, Yorkshire.  His parents died when he was young, so he and his sister were raised by their uncle.  At around the age of 12, he became acquainted with the ministry of John Smith, around which the separatist churches of this region would eventually form around 1606.  At the age of 18, Bradford joined the group of Separatists that fled from England in fear of being persecuted by the Church of England.  The church first migrated to Holland where they remained for 11 years.  There, he married his 16-year-old bride (can you imagine it?), Dorothy.

By 1620, a segment of the church decided to head for America on the Mayflower.  Bradford, now 30 years old, decided to make the trip with his wife Dorothy. They left their son behind, so he didn't have to make the difficult journey.  While the Mayflower was anchored in Cape Cod, many of the Pilgrims were on shore looking for a place to settle.  It is during this time that Bradford's wife Dorothy fell overboard and drowned (gasp).

John Carver was elected governor of Plymouth until his death in 1621.  Bradford was then elected governor that year, and every year after.  He eventually remarried and was responsible for much of the running of the colony including the finances, dealings with the Native Americans, and governing the law.  Beginning in 1630, Bradford started writing a history of the Plymouth Colony under the title Of Plymouth Plantation.


Video Overview

Please view this "Drive Thru History" video, which will give you a visual of the journey to America.


It is important to understand what the Mayflower Compact was and how it affected the colonists.  It was a written agreement composed by the new settlers arriving at New Plymouth.  The Mayflower Compact was drawn up with fair and equal laws, for the general good of the settlement and with the will of the majority.  The Mayflower's passengers knew that the New World's earlier settlers failed due to a lack of government.  The signers of the compact believed that convents were not only to be honored between God and man, but also between each other.

The relationship between the Native Americans and the colonists was also very important.  Bradford speaks of these encounters in his writing.  The pilgrims were wary of the Native Americans at first, but learned to have great respect for them because they taught the pilgrims how to hunt and to grow food.  

Reading Assignment

For this assignment, I want you to chose one of the following critical reading strategies: annotate, question, outline and summarize, evaluate, or compare. Use the strategy you pick to read through the following excerpts: "On the Mayflower," "How they sought a place of habitation," and "Treaty with the Indians" from On Plymouth Plantation by William Bradford. Check here to access the excerpts. Also, notice that he only writes in plain style (remember that from our key terms?).

You will need to submit a word document with proof of your critical reading. Depending on what strategy you choose, here is what I will want to see:

Annotate: Copy and paste the writings into a word document. As you read, underline important words and put brackets around key phrases. OR provide a short summary of each excerpt. 

Question: Provide a half page of questions on the reading. What confuses you? What questions do you have for the author? DOUBLE SPACE your questions, 12 point font.

Outline and Summarize: Identify the main arguments for each excerpt and restate them in your own words.

Evaluate: Describe what each excerpt made you think or feel. Did it change any ideas you had before? Your responses should be at least 1 paragraph for each excerpt.

Compare: Compare each excerpt to something else you have read. State why each excerpt is similar and what text it is similar to.


Works Cited
YouTube  www.youtube.com 10 August 2012
Modern History Sourcebook  http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mad/1650bradford.asp 10 August 2012
Image source:  http://www.highsmith.com/images/full/Time-to-Read-Wall-HSL_i_H54636.jpg