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UNIT #9 – MIGRATION - Plymouth and Puritan (W9:D1)




During the Reformation, the Church of England broke from the Roman Catholic Church, yet kept many of its practices. The Puritans were a religious group, made up of two groups: the Brownists - the earliest dissenters from the Church of England, and separatist Puritans, who wanted to purify the Church of England (believing it reformed enough). Both groups were forced out of England when they wouldn’t agree to the practices of the Church of England, including the government controlling the church (they believed it should instead be a democratic congregation and God). Under English law, it was illegal for anyone not to attend a church controlled by the Church of England, punishable with a fine and then imprisonment. Many underground churches popped up throughout the country, practicing their own beliefs. So England stepped in and began imprisoning these believers. In 1593, a few of their leaders were executed, for sedition against the government. For this, the Puritans decided - together - that they needed to find a place they could settle and live their beliefs free of persecution and control by the government. They first traveled to Amsterdam, in the Netherlands, and petitioned the courts in England for better treatment. The courts and King heard them and accepted one of their requests: to update an English translation of the Bible (the King James version). In Amsterdam, employment was near impossible for them to find, and many ran out of money and had to return to England, and so were driven to make another plan. The King agreed to permit them to settle land in North America, near the Hudson. With the help of the Merchant Adventurer company (which would become the Plymouth Company), they funded their first expedition and set sail for the Americas, aboard the Mayflower, in July 1620. The ship that was to accompany them turned around twice, possibly due to sabotage. Aboard the Mayflower, while waiting out the storm, the Puritan men created a pact amongst their leaders and put it to paper. See, while they all wanted to be outside of the King’s control, many Puritans wanted to rule their lives with no outside influence, while others wanted to create a rule of governance that would help everyone stay as one. To compromise, they wrote and signed a document that would bring them, as a group, freedom from all outside influences. This would come to be known as the Mayflower Compact. This was the governing document for the Plymouth Colony. In the name of God, amen. We, whose names are underwritten, the Loyal Subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord King James, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith. Having undertaken for the Glory of God, and Advancement of the Christian Faith, and the Honour of our King and Country, a Voyage to plant the first Colony in the northern Parts of Virginia; Do by these Presents, solemnly and mutually, in the Presence of God and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil Body Politick, for our better Ordering and Preservation, and Furtherance of the Ends aforesaid: And by Virtue hereof do enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal Laws, Ordinances, Acts, Constitutions, and Offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general Good of the Colony; unto which we promise all due Submission and Obedience. This is what is now considered the first act of freedom against any other sovereign nation in the new world, and the creation of a government for and of the people (though it would take many battles and wars to create an independent nation). Signing the pact was the first law they broke; the second was to disembark to explore Cape Cod Bay, and finally, on December 21, 1620, they left the ship, in the middle of winter. They were short on supplies and, without the ability to farm during the winter, many of them began to starve; half of them died. Now just a few years before (1614 and 1617), the local indigenous tribe, the Wampanoag people, were hit with a deadly plague - whether from European traders or nature’s creation is not certain. What is certain, is that nearly 90-95% of the people died, and much of the land abandoned. The neighboring tribes worried about the plague, so continued to keep their distance. This is where the pilgrims settled, on very fruitful soil. When searching for food, they found a storage of corn and beans leftover, enough to begin the next year’s crops. Back in 1614, English explorers from the Virginia colony came through and captured 27 Indian men, and brought them to Spain to be sold into slavery. A group of Spanish friars intervened, purchased the rest of the slaves and set them free, including a Patuxet-Wampanoag, named Tisquantum (called ‘Squanto’ by the pilgrims). While with the monks, he was introduced to Christianity and soon converted. He would later become an interpreter on an English expedition sent back to Newfoundland and from there, he left the group to return home in 1619. When he returned, he found that his entire tribe had died. In the Spring of 1621, those who were strong enough (maybe 6 out of the 100 settlers), began to plant their crops. One day, an Abenaki, by the name of Samoset, came wandering into the village unarmed and spoke to them in English, which he had learned from traders. He warned them that other Indians in the area may be hostile, due to the Spanish taking natives as slaves. This discussion led to further help from other tribesmen, like Squanto, who would interpret for both sides. After all other natives returned home, he stayed to help teach the pilgrims how to farm in this new climate and soil. He also showed the men where the most fertile hunting and fishing waters were. This friendship between the pilgrims and local indigenous tribe opened the door for other tribes to trade with them, including furs and crops. This also led to the Massasoit, or leader of the Wampanoag, forming a peace treaty with the settlers. When a boy from the colony got lost in the woods and was found by the Nauset tribe, a deal was struck to return him, in exchange for corn to replace the seeds that the pilgrims had unwittingly taken the year before and planted to grow their crops. During these talks, another tribe had kidnapped the Massasoit, Squanto, and a few other Wampanoags, by the Narragansett tribe, and the Puritans sent out a rescue party, led by Myles Standish. When Squanto escaped and the Massasoit was released, the Puritans took the natives that were injured and nursed them back to health. Both acts helped secure good relations with the local tribes. With this treaty also came a price that the Wampanoag would accept for the pilgrims to purchase land; in return, they would teach the pilgrims how to farm that land. Their harvest was so plentiful in the fall of 1621, that the pilgrims gathered with over 90 tribesmen to celebrate their friendship with prayer, food, and sports. The surviving pilgrims consisted of 4 women, 27 children, and 22 men. Some call this the First Thanksgiving, though Virginia had been celebrating them in Jamestown since 1607, with their arrival. Shortly after the celebration, a second ship, the Fortune, arrived with 37 new settlers and very little supplies, and the crops did not last the winter, again. The Fortune also came with a message from the Merchant Adventurers Company, chastising the settlers for not returning the Mayflower with goods to begin repaying the Puritan’s debt. They returned the Fortune with goods to begin repaying the debt, but it was captured by the French and repayment was not received. In 1623, three more ships arrived with even more settlers, many loyal to the Company, to ensure the repayment of their debts. Upon arrival, many of these settlers decided not to be “enslaved” under the agreement with the company, and settled elsewhere. In the following years, many ships came with additional settlers, including the Sparrow, which brought 60 men who settled Weymouth, Massachusetts. Because of a dispute, started by Myles Standish (again), these settlers, and some tribal leaders, the relationship between colonists and indigenous diminished. The fur trade nearly disappeared, and the open communication disappeared; eventually leading to conflicts, like King Philip's War. In 1691, the colony, estimated at 3,055 people, merged with the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and created the Province of Massachusetts Bay. To this day, it is still considered the first settlement in New England.

Activity: Thanksgiving (W9:D2) – If you began these lessons in late August or early September, it is probably coming close to the United States’ celebration of Thanksgiving. For that, we will be doing some crafts to celebrate a strong harvest and plenty of food. Part 1: Thanksgiving Celebrations at Home - First, we would like you to list all the steps you would need to take to prepare for Thanksgiving. If you don’t have that many traditions, look up other traditions you think would be fun to celebrate:

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Part 2: Steps to Cook a Turkey – What is Thanksgiving without a turkey? I know, not everyone celebrates Thanksgiving, or celebrates it the same way, but the traditional Thanksgiving - back to the pilgrims - would include a turkey. The next step in this activity is to list all the steps to cook a turkey. Again, you may not cook them, but they did in history; so humor them, by writing down the steps to cook one.

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Part 3: Crafting a Turkey – Now there are many ways to craft a turkey. Today you are going to pardon a turkey, meaning they are safe from the carver’s knife, and will live to tell the tale. The turkey you will be pardoning is one of your own creation. You can make it out of paper, cardboard, paper plates, or even cookies and candy corn, but try to resist eating that last turkey. Your task is to create a turkey in a craft, and pardon them from the dinner table. Here are a few examples:



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