“Mayflower Story” (by Ott)

Notions

Group 1

Origin of Native Americans

KEYWORDS: exact date and routes matters of discussion and research, last continents to gain human habitation, traditionally hunter-gatherers, some groups practised aquaculture and agriculture, land bridge of Beringia, Wisconsin glaciation, 17000-50000 years ago.

The exact date of the first settlers and the routes travelled are still matters of discussion and research to this day. However, we are able to claim that North and South America were the last continents to gain human habitation. These settlers were traditionally hunter-gatherers but some groups also practised aquaculture (fish farming, seaweed farming, etc) and agriculture. There are many theories about how the settlers got to America but the widespread theory suggests that they used the land bridge of Beringia that surfaced during the Wisconsin glaciation about 17 000-50 000 years ago.

Different tribes and their way of life

Many tribes and their civilizations achieved great complexity during the pre-Columbian era (before Christopher Columbus’ voyages). This complexity included permanent or urban settlements, agriculture, engineering, astronomy, trade, civic and monumental architecture, complex societal hierarchies. The most known tribes are the Navajo, the Pueblo, the Apache and the Iroquois.

The Navajo tribe is now the second biggest tribe by population. They live mainly in Utah, New Mexico and Arizona, whereas they also have their own Navajo Nation. The Navajos had a semi-nomadic lifestyle. As a part of their traditional economy, the Navajos have been supposed to form trading and raiding parties, travelling between vast distances.

The Pueblo tribe share the same region with the Navajos. The Pueblos are known to be skilled at pottery and architecture. Their houses were carved into the faces of cliffs (called pit houses), having more permanent and compact villages. The Pueblos had a more static lifestyle.

The Apache tribe is distantly related to the Navajos. They share similar languages and somewhat similar habitation areas, living in Oklahoma and Texas, having reservations in New Mexico and Arizona. The Apaches had a nomadic lifestyle. They lived together with their extended families, crammed in a house called tipi. Most of the Apache tribesmen were hunters or farmers.

The Iroquois tribe live mainly in New York, Pennsylvania and Delaware. Similar to the Pueblos, the Iroquois tribe also had a more static lifestyle. They lived in longhouses. Their tribe has now formed a confederation, uniting the regions of the tribe.

Nowadays, the list of federally recognized tribes consists of 523 Native American tribes that are recognised by the BIA (Bureau of Indian Affairs). There are also 573 federally recognized tribal governments.

Legend of Pocahontas

KEYWORDS: Native American woman, saved a colonist from execution by her father in 1607, in 1613 was captured, converted to Christianity, Rebecca, didn’t return, married an Englishman, gave birth to a son, died in 1617 mysteriously at 20/21 years of age.

Pocahontas was a Native American woman who lived from circa 1596 to March 1617. She saved a Colonist named John Smith in 1607 from execution by her own tribe. She saved him by placing her head on John’s when her father was about to execute John using his warclub. Pocahontas wished for peace between the indigenous settlers and the colonists. During hostilities in 1613 Pocahontas was captured. During captivity, she converted to Christianity and took the name of Rebecca. When the opportunity came to return to her tribe, she chose to stay with the Colonists. Rebecca then married an Englishman and gave birth to a son. She died mysteriously in 1617 when being 20 to 21 years old. She showed that Native Americans could be civilized. She was called “the Reformed Savage”.

Northwest Ordinance of 1787

KEYWORDS: an organic act of the Confederation Congress, formed the Northwest Territory as the first ever organized territory, the land between rivers Ohio and Mississippi, before it many problems, first to abolish slavery, began the process of admitting new states, the border between free and slave states.

Also named as An Ordinance for the Government of the Territory of the United States, North-West of the River Ohio. It was the organic act of the Congress of the Confederation of the United States. The act created the Northwest Territory, the first ever organized American territory. The territory included the land between rivers Ohio and Mississippi. Before the Northwest Ordinance, there were many problems like an empty US treasury, violent confrontations with the indigenous, a lack of a strong central government to implement changes, etc. The Northwest Territory was one of the first regions to abolish slavery.

Indian Removal Act of 1830

KEYWORDS: signed into law by Andrew Jackson, relocating Native American tribes westwards, acquiring their land, considered genocide because of the discrimination and deaths, enforcement lasted until 1841, being finished by Martin Van Buren, Trail of Tears, 4000 dead.

It was an act signed into law by US president Andrew Jackson. It allowed Andrew Jackson’s administration to negotiate for Native American tribes’ removal to the land west of Mississipi River. The act also allowed the white settlers to acquire Native American land. The act has been considered genocide because it discriminated to an ethnic group leading up to many deaths. The enforcement of the act lasted until 1841, being finished by the administration of the US president Martin Van Buren.

Reservations

KEYWORDS: first reservation in 1758, the system in 1763, Indian Removal Act of 1830, forced assimilation in 1868, president Ulysses S. Grant wanted to make peace, nowadays 326 reservations, 1 million living on them, 2.5 million living elsewhere.

The first reservation was established in 1758 in southern New Jersey. The American Indigenous Reservation system was founded in 1763 when Great Britain set aside massive resources for Native Americans. Then there was the Indian Removal Act of 1830 which was then followed by forced assimilation in 1868 started by the US president Ulysses S. Grant in a push to pursue “Peace Policy” to avoid violence. Nowadays, there are 326 Indian Reservations throughout the US which have about 1 million Native Americans living on them, whereas the majority, 2.5 million live elsewhere, for example, in big western cities like Phoenix and Los Angeles.

Indian Citizenship Act of 1924

KEYWORDS: Homer P. Snyder -> Snyder Act, granted full US citizenship to Natives, signed into law by Calvin Coolidge, recognition to the war veterans, Fourteenth Amendment didn’t apply to the Natives.

Also known as the Snyder Act because it was proposed by a Representative from New York named Homer P. Snyder. The act granted full US citizenship to the indigenous peoples who were named “Indians” in the act. It was signed into law by US president Calvin Coolidge. Partly a recognition to the thousands of Indians who served in the First World War.
According to the Fourteenth Amendment, any person born on the US soil was to be granted a full US citizenship but the amendment was interpreted not to be applied to Natives.

Trail of Broken Treaties of 1972

KEYWORDS: cross-country protest, autumn of 1972 by American Indian organizations, national attention to Natives’ issues, biggest American Indian gathering in D.C., from the west coast to Washington D.C., Nixon refused to meet, Twenty-Point Position paper, protesters occupied BIA, after a week Nixon’s administration negotiated, made concessions.

It was a cross-country protest staged in autumn of 1972 by American Indian organizations. They wanted to bring national attention to widespread American Indian issues, such as treaty rights, living standards and inadequate housing. The protest brought the biggest American Indian gathering to the capital city, presenting their hopes. The caravan began on the west coast in October and reached Washington D.C. in early November. Protesters travelled by bus, van and car. The Nixon Administration refused to meet the protesters to receive a Twenty-Point Position paper that defined the Native American demands. In response, the protesters occupied the Department of Inferior Affairs headquarters building which also housed the BIA (Bureau of Indian Affairs). After a week-long stand-off, the Nixon Administration was agreed to negotiate with the protesters and made concessions including further treaty negotiations.

Present situation

KEYWORDS: same obligations (taxes, military service, no additional payments), some old problems (education, living conditions, housing), reservations -> big cities, tribal sovereignty, 0.8% is of American Indian or Alaska Native descent, scattered all around the US.

American Indians have the same obligations as the US citizens as they still have to pay taxes and attend military service. They don’t receive additional payments from the federal government simply because they have Indian blood. However, there are still some old problems considering the American Indians. There’s still a big difference between them and Americans as the indigenous have a lack of education, poor living conditions and housing. As mentioned before, many American Indians are emigrating from their reservations to bigger cities. There are also still some problems considering tribal sovereignty. In 2010, the US Census Bureau estimated that about 0.8% of the American population is of American Indian or Alaska Native descent. The population is scattered unevenly around the US.

Group 2

Jamestown Colony (living conditions, population, plantations, import of slaves)

Jamestown Colony was the first permanent English settlement in the Americas. It was created by the Virginia Company of London as “James Fort” on May 4 (O.S.), 1607. At first, 100 people were brought to the Jamestown Colony. Before the arrival of new settlers and supplies in 1610, Jamestown Colony faced a near failure because of different diseases, famine and conflicts with the locals. In fact, the Jamestown Colony actually suffered a brief abandonment in 1610. Jamestown was named after King James I.

The living conditions were especially difficult at the start. That’s also why about 80% of the settlers died within the next few years. The land chosen wasn’t inhabited by the locals because it was considered too swampy and not usable for agriculture. The settlers also arrived during a drought and too late to plant down any crops. Furthermore, the settlers weren’t accustomed to hard labour due to the fact that most of them were high-class gentlemen and their manservants. The deaths of many were also contributed by a harsh winter and the almost instant return of Captain Newport (who led the fleet to Jamestown) to gather more supplies and report to King James I. There were also many conflicts with the locals, though at the start the settlers were welcomed with great hospitality.

The population decreased and by 1608 (before the First and Second Supply missions) two-thirds of the settlers had died due to starvation and diseases. During the “Starving Time” (1609-1610) only 60 of the 214 original settlers survived (the data varies hugely). The Third Supply brought much-needed supplies and new settlers to Jamestown. By 1699, there were 60 000 people living in the colony, including 6000 slaves.

Plantations. Initially, the Natives taught the English how to harvest corn and by 1611 the English had harvested a decent amount of corn themselves. The rise of Jamestown’s economy started when a tobacco planter named John Rolfe introduced a new type of tobacco.

The import of slaves, and with it the long-lasting tradition of slavery, began in 1619 when about 50 African men, women and children were settled in Jamestown Colony. These slaves were from a Portuguese slave ship that was captured in the West Indies. They were assigned to work in tobacco fields. This event led to the formalization of slavery in the United States in 1640.

Mayflower and Pilgrim Fathers

Mayflower was the main ship that carried the first English Puritans (now known as the Pilgrims) to Cape Cod in 1620. There were 102 passengers and 25-30 crewmen on the ship. Mayflower’s maiden voyage was in 1609. It was meant to be a cargo ship. The Pilgrims didn’t use a passenger ship because at that time the transportation of people by sea wasn’t really developed yet, so there was a lack of passenger ships. The captain of Mayflower was Christopher Jones who also owned one-fourth of the ship. Mayflower weighed around 180 tons and had 4 decks. The ship was most likely taken apart a year after returning from the voyage to America.

This is the restored version of Mayflower named “Mayflower II”. The replica was built in Devon, England in 1955-1956. It weighs 242 tons (the original Mayflower weighed around 180 tons) and is now a museum ship.

The Pilgrim Fathers or Pilgrims were the first English settlers of the Plymouth Colony. The Pilgrims held Puritan Calvinist beliefs, but unlike other Puritans, they believed that their congregations should be separated from the Church of England. They initially fled England due to persecution to Holland which was relatively secure and tolerant. As they feared that they might lose their cultural identity in Holland, they decided to emigrate to America.

Mayflower Compact

Mayflower Compact was a set of rules established in the Plymouth Colony in 1620. It was the first governing document of the Plymouth Colony. The rules were signed aboard Mayflower (while anchored) by male passengers including adventurers and tradesmen who were separatist Puritans. These rules were established to avoid disobedience, violence, criminality and overall a total disaster. These laws were applied so that a functioning social structure would prevail.

The text of Mayflower Compact is now on the Pilgrim Monument in Princetown. The monument commemorates the Pilgrims arrival in Princetown. Eventually, the Pilgrims deemed Princetown inhospitable and moved on to Plymouth where they established a permanent colony. Nevertheless, the event has great importance for the residents of Princetown.

Puritan Colony in Plymouth, New England

Puritan Colony in Plymouth was founded by the Pilgrims in 1620 due to emigration from England and Holland known as the Brownist Emigration. It was one of the first successful English colonies in America. In 1620, over a hundred settlers arrived in Plymouth on the Mayflower. More than half of them died in the first winter. Despite that, they managed to establish a permanent colony and remain in good relationship with the locals who taught them a lot in survival. Due to good relationships, the colony didn’t have to worry about defending the area. The colony became self-sufficient in 5 years.

Puritan ethics and ideology

Puritans believed in hard work, thrift, efficiency, education for everyone (to read the bible) and closeness to God. They led a simple life. The Puritans believed that we should always be uncertain of another day. They believed that we are all equal in the eyes of God which practically meant that the Catholic church in their opinion hasn’t got any special power. The Puritans wanted the Church of England purified, reformed. In contrast, the Separatists wanted a whole new church because in their opinion the church shouldn’t be attached to the civil power, whereas the Puritans believed that it is the government’s mission to enforce moral standards and ensure that the religious worship was established and maintained.

Thanksgiving

The celebration of Thanksgiving dates back to November 1621 when the newly arrived Pilgrims and the Wampanoag tribe gathered to celebrate the autumn harvest. There were large celebrations for several days. The locals and the settlers had competitions in archery and wrestling. The original event is considered a symbol of friendship, though it’s believed that the locals turned up uninvited. Thanksgiving is celebrated to this day by gathering with the family and feasting.

Thanksgiving is nowadays often celebrated in countries like the US, Canada, Liberia, etc. In North America, it is a tradition to gather with the family and eat traditional food like turkey.

Religious issues (freedom)

During the reign of King James I of England, by law, everyone was supposed to belong in the Church of England. King James I and William Laud (the archbishop of Canterbury) opposed the Puritans and suppressed them which led to the Puritans emigrating to Holland or remaining underground.

Quakers

The Quakers are a historically religious group of movements. They are Christian Protestant. Their church is called the Friends Church. They believe in pacifism and in the fact that God exists in every one of us. The movement was founded by George Fox in mid-17th-century England. They were persecuted for their beliefs. First missionaries arrived in America in the 1650s. The Quakers don’t have any elaborate religious ceremonies, nor an official clergy. They believe in the spiritual equality of men and women. The Quakers are pacifists. They also played a huge role in the abolition of slavery and women’s rights movement.

The symbol used by the Quakers’ Friends church named “Quaker Star” since late 19th century.

Preparation for discussion leading (Q&A)

Based on the film

Why were the Puritans forced to emigrate to America? (notion: Religious Issues)
By law, everyone was supposed to belong to the Church of England. Charles I was strongly opposed to Puritans was determined to suppress them. The life in Holland was also not good enough because Pilgrims thought they would face extinction there. They had to do hard labour and their children were becoming more Dutch, so they decided to leave. The culture and language were simply strange for the Puritans.

Who were John Carver and William Bradford and what happened to them?
John Carver was the initial governor died of an illness in 1621. William Bradford succeeded him and died in 1657 (and by that outlived most of his friends).
Was the first voyage initially a success? Or how did it turn out?
There were 3 attempts in total. At the start, the Mayflower was supposed to reach America while accompanied by a smaller ship named Speedwell. However, the first two attempts were failures as Speedwell started leaking and they had to return to England. Ultimately, they abandoned Speedwell and sailed for America using only the Mayflower.

How many passengers were there on the Mayflower and what were the living conditions like? How was the food and what did they drink?
There were 102 passengers + 25-30 crewmen. The living conditions were horrible. Many illnesses, poor hygiene, low motivation (the man who cursed them), lack of privacy, lack of room (only 5 ft tall), living with animals, dirty. The food was awfully salty which caused dehydration. During that time, there wasn’t really any clean drinking water and so they drank beer. Even children.

What happened to the main beam and how was it fixed?
Due to the strong storms, the main support beam started cracking up. The ship had already suffered many delays, food shortages, illnesses, etc. Now, the whole ship was included in the repairment of the main beam. It was repaired using a device called jackscrew. It was loaded on board to help the construction of homes. The jackscrew was used to secure the support beam and by that, they prevented any further cracking.

What happened to the Mayflower after they reached Cape Cod?
The captain Christopher Jones set sail towards England. Ship’s empty hold was ballasted with stones. A year after the arrival from America the captain died and the ship was probably taken apart.

How were the relations between the new settlers and the Native Americans?
The Puritans managed to make permanent peace with the Natives. They learned a lot from each other and celebrated Thanksgiving together. They held competitions and parties. A great deal of mutual hospitality. They became allies. Of course, the Natives also showed their authority but the new settlers remained unnerved.

What did they think of the Natives at the start?
They had many stereotypical thoughts about the Natives. Some of them thought that the Natives are uncivil, cruel and barbarous cannibals. Some thought that the countries in America are fruitful and fit for habitation.

What was the difference between the Puritans and the Separatists?
The Puritans believed that the Church of England can be purified, changed and made better. The Separatists believed no Church of England can exist because the church cannot be connected to the civil power.

What do you think why were the Pilgrim Fathers able to make peace with the locals, whereas the British could not? (AN OPEN END QUESTION)
I think they had a more positive mindset. Though some of them actually thought that the Natives were cruel cannibals some of them truly believed that the Natives can be civil. They concentrated more on collaboration and cooperation than violence. They were happy to live alongside the Native Americans.

Based on the notions

What is the origin of Thanksgiving?
In 1621 the newly arrived settlers and the Native Americans gathered in Plymouth to celebrate the autumn harvest. There were competitions in wrestling, archery, etc.

Who are Quakers?
A historically religious group of movements. They were Christian Protestant. They believed in pacifism and in the fact that God exists in every one of us. The movement was founded by George Fox in the mid 17th century England. They were persecuted for their beliefs. First missionaries arrived in America in the 1650s.

What was the Mayflower Compact?
A set of laws applied in the Plymouth Colony in order to avoid disobedience, violence and a total catastrophe. These laws were applied so that a functioning social structure would prevail.

What did the Puritans value?
Hard work, thrift, efficiency, closeness to God, simple life, the uncertainty of another day.

Essay

“Desperate Crossing – The True Story of the Mayflower” is a 2006 film made in the USA depicting the Mayflower voyage to America and the story of the colony through the eyes of the second governor William Bradford. The film was made based on the diary entries of William Bradford.

The historical integrity and accuracy of the film are somewhat doubtable. While the main events were included, the depiction could have been more accurate. For example, the horror on the ship Mayflower was relatively not harsh enough. It is said that the ship suffered much more casualties, disease and horror than the film depicts. The harsh winter that followed the arrival to America and greatly affected the population of the colony was also not included.

One classmate of mine considered the film to be so boring that he almost fell asleep during the film. I, however, did not fall asleep during the film but personally, I am having a hard time deciding whether to agree with him or not. On the one hand, the film was interesting. On the other hand, the film was frankly nothing fascinating and definitely had its flaws. For example, I failed to sometimes understand where one scene ended and another one began. So, sometimes the time-shift was way too unexpected for me to instantly acknowledge. I also failed to understand what this film was exactly meant to be. The term “fake documentary” tends to suit that film very well. I guess some of these previously mentioned flaws may have been caused by the fact that we were actually watching only an excerpt of the film. The original film is 3 hours long, whereas the film we watched lasted for around 40 minutes in total.

The film did a great job in making the history it depicts understandable for everyone. As one review says: “The events are largely seen through the eyes of William Bradford and based, primarily, on his journals. That gives Lisa Q. Wolfinger’s production a clear point of view, leaving it to the commentators to fill in historical gaps and provide balance.” These historians explained simply and clearly what was going on in the film and what each scene meant. They helped a lot to gain a fuller understanding of the film. This film has also received a good reputation from the viewers as it has received a score of 8.2 out of 10 according to the IMDb site which has compiled the score based on 93 user reviews.

“Desperate Crossing” succeeds in helping to understand and visualize the events depicted. There are small historical inaccuracies which can be forgiven. Few events went missing due to the fact that I only saw an excerpt of the film. Otherwise, the content of the film was clear, simple and easily understandable. In addition, the film has received positive feedback from other viewers as well. Though it is hard for me to evaluate the film as I have not seen the whole film, I give it an 8.

Essay sources

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0493146/ratings?ref_=tt_ov_rt
http://www.jamesweggreview.org/Articles.aspx?ID=201

First film: ”Mayflower Story”

Historical accuracy

The first movie is called “A Desperate Crossing: The Untold Story of The Mayflower”. It tells sthe story of Pilgrims who decide to emigrate to the young America in the 17th century because of the persecution they suffer by the English crown. It is told throught the writings of a man who lived it, William Bradford. The story begins 13 years before the initial voyage in Scrooby, England. In the first scene, William Bradford is taking part of a secret meeting held at Scrooby Manor, where John Robinson and William Brewster are speaking to their congregation about their upcoming plans of immigration. The meeting is interrupted by a knock on the door, and all the members flee to hide. It is said in the movie that their secret meetings were against the law, but in the movie we didn’t see the imprisonment of many members of the congregation. Brewster was also found guilty of being “disobedient in matters of religion” and was fined. Many of the members were under constant watch by those loyal to the archbishop of York, who also wasn’t mentioned in the movie. By 1617, they had  emigrated to Netherlands and a second meeting was held in Leiden, where William Bradford brought out the idea of sailing to America. They knew America wasn’t unpeopled and had stereotypical thoughts about the Natives, thinking they were cannibalistic savages who need to hear the word of God. Despite the terrifying expectations, they managed to set sail to Plymouth on July 23, 1620. When arriving in England, they saw the enormous ship that would take them to America, the Mayflower. After the departure, the two ships ‘’Speedwell’’ and ‘’Mayflower’’ spent around 7 days sailing around the southern coast of England. Not soon after, Speedwell started leaking in water, which resulted in the turning back of the ships not once, but two times. In the film, we saw about 20 passengers getting off the ship accompanied by the ships master for a fear of death in America. After that, Speedwell was sold which wasn’t mentioned. Because of the delay caused by the leaky Speedwell, the Mayflower had to cross the Atlantic at the height of storm season and lots of people from the Speedwell boarded the Mayflower, which led to overcrowding. The movie lacked descripitions of some of the famous seamen that were also taking part of the voyage, like John Allerton, Thomas English and William Trevore. What I found weird about the movie was the sudden change of environment from approaching the land of North America to scenes of the already established settlement in New Plymouth. The movie completely skipped the long and harsh winter, during which the passengers remained on board the Mayflower and suffered from an outbreak of diseases such as scruvy, pneumonia and tubercolosis. When it ended, only half of the passengers remained. Stepping a foot on the shore, the movie showed a Native American named Squanto help the Pilgrims to plant corn and catch fish. The movie dodged the building of the first settlement and the struggles that came along with gaining trust of the Native Americans and a spread of disease. After making peace with the Indians, they began gathering food for a harvest that was seen as a sign of accomplishment by God. A feast was held as a celebration and the food on the table was quite accurate to what was available at that time. Bradford continued to hold great relations with the Massasoit tribe and they signed a treaty of alliance on March 22,1621. The movie didn’t emphasise the importance of the Massasuit tribe to the Plyomuth Colony, as they helped with the starvation that the Pilgrims faced during the earliest years of the colony’s establishment.

Visual Portrayal

The picture represents the horrible and cruel passage of the mayflower on the stormy waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Throughout the journey, huge waves were constantly crashing against the ship’s topside deck. One stormy night, one of the bigger waves broke the main support beam which was the key component that kept the ship structured together. Luckily, it was repaired with the use of a metal jackscrew, which had been loaded on board to help in the construction of settler homes. Overall, the ship was strongly constructed and heavily armed. It was 100 feet long, 25 feet wide and a cargo capacity of 180 tons. It also carried seven cannons and three smaller guns for protection against the Native Americans and other invaders.

Notions

Origin of Native Americans

There are many theories as to who are the ancestors of Native Americans. The first theory depicts that the first humans migrated from Asia to the Americas, crossing over a land bridge during the last ice age.

More than 15 000 years ago, paleolithic hunter-gatherers entered North-America from the North Asian Mammoth steppe via the Beringia land bridge, which had formed due to the lowering of the sea level.

With the availability of the land bridge, the newly indigenous people expanded rapidly throughout North and South America. The earliest populations to settle in the Americas are known as Paleo-Indians.

The second theory called the “Coastal Migration Theory” contends that the first Americans migrated from Northwest Asia along the northern Pacific coastline of North America in either rafts or some kind of boats. According to this theory, these coastal migrants eventually moved inland as the glacial ice sheet melted and opened up access routes to the continental interior of North America.

This map depicts the possible coastal route to the Americas during the late glacial period

Different tribes and their way of life

By the time Europeans arrived in the Americas, there were perhaps 4-6 million people already living there.At around 5000 BCE, the domestication of corn allowed different societies to develop across the Americas. Around 150 different American Indian tribes were formed and in order to keep track of those diverse groups, historians have divided them into “culture areas” or groupings of people who shared similar habitats and characteristics. There are 10 different culture areas where societies have developed around their natural environments, using the resources that were available to them. In the Southwest, Plains and Great Basin, the climate was quite dry and tribes were usually nomadic, following herds of animals in easy-to-build teepees. People in the Southwest, like the Puebloans, dealt with the dry climate by creating complex irrigation systems to water corn crops and lived in large cave complexes to grow their population. In the Northwest, fishing was a major component of their daily activities. While fishing in the Pacific Ocean gave Indians plenty of food, farming was also necessary to develop large settlements like Cahokia, which held around 25 000-40 000 residents. The East Coast natives relied mostly on three-sister farming, in which people planted corn, beans and squash together, which provided a nutritious diet for the locals.

The Legend Of Pocahontas

Pocahontas was a Powhatan Native American woman known for her involvement with English colonial settlement at Jamestown, Virginia. She was the favourite daughter of Chief Powhatan and saved the life of Englishman John Smith, by placing her head upon his own at the moment of his execution. After that incident, she was seen as a sign of peace to the English and held great relations with them. In 1613, Captain Samuel Argall kidnapped Pocahontas and held her captive for the return of stolen weapons and English prisoners held by her father. After the capture, she was brought to England, where she married a colonist named John Rolfe, converted to christianity and changed her name to Rebecca. Pocahontas died of an unexpected illness while visiting England in 1617. She was buried at St. George’s Church on March 21, 1617. The incident showed, that native Americans could be civilized and converted to Christianity.

Portrait of Pocahontas.

Northwest Ordinance of 1787 

The Northwest Ordinance was a declaration adopted by the Confederation Congress in July 13. It created the Northwest Territory, which was the first organized territory in the US. It chartered a government for the Northwest Territory, provided a method for admitting new states to the Union and listed a bill of rights guaranteed in the territory. It followed the principles outlined by Thomas Jefferson in the Ordinance of 1784. It also encouraged education and was the first territory to forbid slavery.

Indian Removal act of 1830

 The document was signed by President Andrew Jackson. It stated that Southern Native American tribes were removed to federal territory west of the Mississippi River in exchange for white settlement of their ancestral lands. The act discriminated against an ethnic group to the point of death of vast numbers of its population. Many Americans during this time favoured the acts passage, but there was also significant opposition. It was strongly supported in the South, especially in Georgia. President Jackson hoped that removal would resolve the Georgia crisis. Many Christian missionaries protested it, most notably missionary organizer Jeremiah Evarts, but the Removal Act passed only after bitter debate in Congress.

Trail of Tears – series of forced relocations of Native Americans in the United States from their ancestral homelands in the Southeastern United States to areas to the west that had been designated as Indian Territory. 

Map of the route of the Trail of Tears
The forced march of the tribe Cherokee to the Indian Territory (present day Oklahoma).

Reservations

Tracks of land for Native Americans to live on as white settlers took over their land. There are approximately 310 Indian reservations in the United States although there are more than 550 federally recognized tribes.

Main goals:

– To bring Native Americans under U.S. government control

– To minimize conflict between Indians and settlers

– To encourage Native Americans to take on the ways of the white man 

After being forced off their native lands, many American Indians found life to be difficult. Nomadic tribes lost their entire means of subsistence by being constricted to a defined area. Farmers found themselves with land unsuitable for agriculture.

Indian Citizenship Act 1924

– proposed by Homer P. Snyder

– granted full US citizenship to all Native Americans born within the territorial limits of the country.

– Before the Civil war, citizenship was often limited to Native Americans of one-half or less Indian blood.

– It was enacted partially in recognition of the thousands of Indians who served in the armed forces during the First World War

Trail of Broken Treaties 1972

Trail of Broken Treaties was a cross-country protest by American Indian organizations. It was designed to bring attention to American Indian issues, living standards and inadequate housing. The largest gathering ever of American Indians presenting their hopes began on the west coast and ended in Washington DC, just before the presidential election. As it traveled across the country, the caravan grew, numbering several hundred when it arrived in the capital.

Present Situation

Today,  567 federally-recognized American Indian tribes reside in the United States and fall under the umbrella of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). The BIA is responsible for improving their quality of life and providing them with economic opportunities. Health care is provided through Indian Health Services. However, there are also many problem in the reservations. Housing is overcrowded and the Indians are living below standards, many people live in poverty. Many health problems like heart disease, diabetes, as well as alcohol and drug abuse are common. Despite its challenges then and now, Native Americans continue to hold on to their heritage and thrive as a community.

Jamestown colony

In 1606, King James ordered the Virginia Company to form a settlement in North America to search for gold and silver deposits and find a river route to the Pacific Ocean.

On May 14, 1607, a group of 100 colonists of the Virginia Company founded the first permanent English settlement in North America on the banks of the James River. First two years were filled with famine, disease and conflict with the locals, until a new group of settlers arrived in 1610.

This picture represents three ships anchored on the James river as early settlers carry lumber to build the walls of the fort at Jamestown, Virginia.

Surviving the first years:  By the summer of 1607, Newport went back to England with two ships and 40 crew members to give a report to the king and to gather more supplies and colonists. The settlers left behind suffered from hunger and illnesses, as well as constant threat of attack by members of local Algonquian tribes. After the marriage of colonist John Rolfe and Pocahontas came a period of peace. The Native Americans traded corn for beads, metal tools and weapons from the English. After Smith returned to England in late 1609, the inhabitants of Jamestown suffered through a long, harsh winter, during which more than 100 of them died. By early 1610, 80-90% of the settlers had died due to starvation and disease.

The marriage of Pocahontas and John Rolfe

Population: By 1699 there were around 60 000 people in the Virginia colony, including about 6000 african slaves

Plantations: Brits learned from the Native Americans how to harvest corn, and by the fall of 1611 they had harvested a decent amount of corn themselves. In 1614 a tobacco planter John Rolfe introduced a new type of tobacco and the Brits started to grow tobacco which made Jamestown’s economy thrive.

Import of slaves: In 1619 the first African slaves arrived in Jamestown, their job was to pick tobacco. Their presence opened the door for Virginia to accept the institution of slavery. Jamestown had started a tradition of slavery that would endure in America for generations

The arrival of Africans in the Jamestown Settlement in August 1619


Mayflower and Pilgrim Fathers

Pilgrim Fathers were members of the English Separatist Church (a radical faction of Puritanism). They fled the Protestant England because of religious intolerance during the reign of James I to establish the second English colony in the New World. They wanted to practice their religion freely while maintaining their English identity. They had earlier fled to Leiden, the Netherlands, to escape persecution at home. But they wanted more religious freedom and because of that they negotiated with a London stock company to finance a pilgrimage to America. Approximately two-thirds of the passengers on the Mayflower were non-Separatists, who were hired to protect the company’s interests. They became known as the Pilgrim Fathers 2 centuries after their arrival, they were initially referred to as the Old Comers and later as the Forefathers. Mayflower was the ship that carried Pilgrims from England to Plymouth. It’s estimated that the ship weighed about 180 tons and was 27 meters long.

Mayflower Compact

The Mayflower Compact was a set of rules for self-governance established by the English settlers who travelled to the New World on the Mayflower. At first they wanted to sail to the northern Virginia, but because of storms and treacherous shoals they landed in Massachusetts, near Cape Cod, outside of Virginia’s jurisdiction instead. Because they knew that life without laws would be catastrophic, they created the Mayflower Compact to ensure that the functioning social structure would prevail.

Pilgrims signing the Mayflower Compact

Puritan Colony in Plymouth, New England

In 1620 December around 100 English settlers landed on the shores of Cape Cod. They formed the first permanent settlement of Europeans in New England. More than half the settlers died during the first winter but the survivors were able to secure peace treaties with neighboring Native American tribes. Though the Separatists were a the group, they formed its powerful center, and controlled entirely the colony’s government during its first 40 years. Thanks to the successful peace treaties, the settlers were able to build a viable settlement for themselves instead of guarding themselves against the attacks. Agriculture, fishing and trading helped to make the colony self-sufficient within 5 years.

Puritan ethics and ideology

Puritan ethic is the value attached to hard work, thrift, and efficiency in one’s worldly calling. Richard Baxter, English Puritan Church leader, said “Promise not long life to yourselves, but live as those that are always uncertain of another day.” For the Puritans was important to “redeem the time”, that meant to order one’s daily life in accordance with godly principles and for maximum effectiveness. Puritans put God first and valued everything else in relation to God. Puritan ideology: When Puritans had settled in the New England they had only one goal in mind: to regain closeness to God and start a New Eden in the Americas. This was to be accomplished by adopting a simple life and rejecting worldliness.

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving dates back to November 1621, when the newly arrived Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Indians gathered at Plymouth for an autumn harvest celebration. The original feast in 1621 occurred sometime between September 21 and November 11 and unlike our modern holiday, it was three days long.  Thanksgiving, which occurs on the fourth Thursday in November, continues to be a day for Americans to gather for a day of feasting, football and family.

The first Thanksgiving feast

Religious issues (freedom):

By law everybody was supposed to belong to the Church of England. William Laud (the Archbishop of Canterbury) and Charles I were strongly opposed to the Puritans and wanted to suppress them.

Europeans came to America to escape religious oppression and forced beliefs by the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of England. That civil unrest fueled the desire to establish the organization of a country where church and state are separate. The splintering of Christianity resulted in more than 900 denominations of that faith currently existing in the United States.

Before Europeans came to America, native people believed in the Great spirit, who could be found in animals or inanimate objects. As white colonists drew Indians into reservations, their religious beliefs increased, even when Christian missionaries affected their practices.

Quakers

The Quaker Movement or the Religious Society of Friends was founded in England in the 17th century by George Fox. He and other early Quakers, were persecuted for their beliefs, which included the idea that the presence of God exists in every person. Quakers rejected elaborate religious ceremonies, didn’t have official clergy (religious leaders) and believed in spiritual equality for men and women. Quaker missionaries first arrived in America in the mid-1650s. Quakers, who practice pacifism (the belief that war is wrong), played a key role in the Abolition (the official end of slavery in the US) and women’s rights movements.

Mayflower Story – Krister Põder

Notions – Group 1

  • Origin of Native Americans – There are many theories as to who are the ancestors of Native Americans. Today there are three theories, that seem most valid. The first theory mentions the migration from Polynesia and from the northern parts of China. However the most rampant speculation is that natives crossed Beringia, a land bridge between Asia and America, which is now the Bering Strait some 30,000 years ago. It is clear that the migration went on for thousands years and not in one wave.
  • Different tribes and their way of life – There are many tribes located across the US. The most known tribes are the Navajo, the Pueblo, the Apache and the Iroquois. The Navajo settlements are located in the western part of the US: Arizona, Utah and New Mexico. The Navajo are with a semi-nomadic lifestyle and the people were hunters-gatherers before the Spanish contact. Their tribe is one of the oldest in the US with their specialty of silversmithing. Also the Navajo formed raid and trade caravans, which travelled through the country. The Pueblo live in the same region as the Navajo. They were a static tribe with more permanent and compact villages, which were carved in the faces of cliffs. The residences are called pit houses. The Pueblo are notably skilled at pottery and architecture. The Apache reside in New Mexico and in its surrounding areas. Its name derives from the word ápachu, meaning “enemy” in the local language. The Apache were a nomadic tribe and most of the tribesmen were hunters or farmers. They lived in a parsimonious house called tipi. Apaches lived with their immediate family in clusters with others. The Iroquois live in the north-eastern region in the United States in states, such as Delaware, New York and Pennsylvania. Similar to the Pueblo the Iroquois were with a stationary way of life. They live in permanent villages in longhouses and today, the Iroquois have formed a confederation, which unites the smaller regions of the tribe.
  • Legend of Pocahontas – The legend of Pocahontas tells a story of a native American, who wished for peace between the indigenous and the colonists. Pocahontas was a princess from the Powhatan tribe. She saved a colonist named John Smith, who was captured by the locals. During her visit, she converted to Christianity, adopted a new name Rebecca and married to an Englishman. Other residents of the colony dubbed Rebecca a “civilized savage”, as they wanted to increase investment on the new continent. The incident showed, that native Americans could be civilized and converted to Christianity.
  • Northwest Ordinance of 1787 – The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 was proposed by president Thomas Jefferson. The declaration recognized the territory of the US, within the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. The act laid the bases of governing the Northwestern Territory. It stated that the territory is to be divided to districts and each district is run by a governor. The territory was the first region to abolish slavery. In addition, the act stated that each new state is equal to the older states, not inferior, as it was before the ordinance.
  • Indian Removal Act of 1830 – This act was signed by Andrew Jackson in 1830. It granted the government to acquire the land of native tribes. As a consequence, many indigenous tribes were forced to relocate west. It is believed that over 100,000 people were moved to the Rockies for forced labour.
  • Reservations – The central government of USA reclaimed more lands from the natives after the civil war. This action left natives with no income and poverty and famines followed suit. In 1868, president Ulysses S. Grant gave back many areas of land to the locals, in an effort to make peace between homeless natives and the government. Today there are 326 reservations for natives, some of these benefit from resources and others suffer from economic and social problems.
  • Indian citizenship Act of 1924 – A congressman Homer P. Snyder supported the act of giving indigenous Americans US citizenship. The proposal came to light after the First World War, where natives could serve in the army, but were not allowed to vote.
  • Trail of Broken Treaties of 1972 – The Trail of Broken Treaties was a protest dedicated to the horrible living conditions of indigenous Americans. The protest swept the nation and protesters formed a caravan from Washington D.C to the Pacific coast. The rebels even conquered the Bureau of Indian Affairs. At the end, the protesters were heard and the government commenced negotiations to improve the situation of natives.
  • Present Situation –The United States is home to 3.1 million Native Americans, which makes up only 9% of all the population of US. Much of their cultural heritage is destroyed, many have completely abandoned their historical roots and have assimilated completely into American society. Young Native Americans move out of reservations in larger numbers every year. These young natives are the minority in any community they enter outside of a reservation, and they often marry non-native people. They face a lot of social problems such as unemployment, poverty, alcoholism and drug abuse, gambling, lack of education and jobs.

Notions – Group 2

Discussion questions with expected answers

  1. What is the difference between the Puritans’ beliefs and the separatists’ beliefs towards the Church of England? The Puritans believed that the Church of England needs to be purified. The Separatists were more radical. They believed that the Church of England could no longer be saved and that they should form an entirely separate church. They wanted to separate from the Church of England.
  2. What did the Pilgrims think about America and its inhabitants before setting sail? They were mostly stuck to stereotypes about Native Americans. They believed that they were savages and cannibals. They also believed that they (the Pilgrims) should spread the word of God to America. Some thought that the change of diet, air and drinking water would bring them grave illnesses. All of them agreed that the journey was risky but worth it.
  3. Why was Mayflower (a cargo ship) used for this journey? The ship was not meant for passengers but it was very large meaning it could hold many people and many supplies. It is possible that it would be easier to cross the Atlantic with it than a smaller ship.
  4. How were the living conditions on the ship?  The living conditions were quite poor due to many people being cramped up together in a small space for a long time. Many people had seasickness. Also the food on the ship was very hard and not good at all. People and animals were all below deck so there was no sanitation thus the smell was very bad below deck.
  5. Why was the food on the ship so salty? What were the consequences of that? The beef was so salty because it would preserve for a longer time that way. Food as salty as that caused dehydration, hypothermia. One of the long time effects was high blood pressure.
  6. How did the passengers feel after arriving in America? They were probably glad that that part of the journey had ended and were excited to start their new lives in a completely different surrounding.
  7. How did the Puritans get along with the natives? At first, there were some tensions but they made peace.
  8. How did the Puritans and the natives make peace? The religion of the Puritans required them to host the guests and feast together to make peace. That was the first Thanksgiving.
  9. Why is turkey eaten on Thanksgiving? The colonists had hunted wild turkeys for the feast on “the first Thanksgiving”.
  10. How did they spend time together on Thanksgiving? They drank and ate together. They might have wrestled and competed against each other with a bow and arrow. Both sides showed their strengths.
  11. What caused the slight rise in tensions between the natives and Europeans? Thousands of more Europeans arrived in Wampanoag territory. Colonization like that could not be foreseen by the natives.
  12. Why were the Puritans forced to emigrate to America? (notion: Religious Issues)
    By law, everyone was supposed to belong to the Church of England. Charles I was strongly opposed to Puritans was determined to suppress them. The life in Holland was also not good enough because Pilgrims thought they would face extinction there. They had to do hard labour and their children were becoming more Dutch, so they decided to leave. The culture and language were simply strange for the Puritans.
  13. Who were John Carver and William Bradford and what happened to them?
    John Carver was the initial governor died of an illness in 1621. William Bradford succeeded him and died in 1657 (and by that outlived most of his friends).
  14. Was the first voyage initially a success? Or how did it turn out?
    There were 3 attempts in total. At the start, the Mayflower was supposed to reach America while accompanied by a smaller ship named Speedwell. However, the first two attempts were failures as Speedwell started leaking and they had to return to England. Ultimately, they abandoned Speedwell and sailed for America using only the Mayflower.
  15. What happened to the main beam and how was it fixed?
    Due to the strong storms, the main support beam started cracking up. The ship had already suffered many delays, food shortages, illnesses, etc. Now, the whole ship was included in the repairment of the main beam. It was repaired using a device called jackscrew. It was loaded on board to help the construction of homes. The jackscrew was used to secure the support beam and by that, they prevented any further cracking.
  16. What happened to the Mayflower after they reached Cape Cod?
    The captain, Christopher Jones, set sail towards England. Ship’s empty hold was ballasted with stones. A year after the arrival from America the captain died and the ship was probably taken apart.
  17. What do you think why were the Pilgrim Fathers able to make peace with the locals, whereas the British could not? (AN OPEN END QUESTION)
    I think they had a more positive mindset. Though some of them actually thought that the Natives were cruel cannibals some of them truly believed that the Natives can be civil. They concentrated more on collaboration and cooperation than violence. They were happy to live alongside the Native Americans.
  18. Who are Quakers?
    Historically religious group of movements. They were Christian Protestant. They believed in pacifism and in the fact that God exists in every one of us. The movement was founded by George Fox in the mid 17th century England. They were persecuted for their beliefs. First missionaries arrived in America in the 1650s.
  19. What was the Mayflower Compact?
    A set of laws applied in the Plymouth Colony in order to avoid
    disobedience, violence and a total catastrophe. These laws were applied so that a functioning social structure would prevail.
  20. What did the Puritans value? What were their beliefs?
    Hard work, thrift, efficiency, closeness to God, simple life, the uncertainty of another day.
  21. Where did the Pilgrim Fathers try to initially reach instead of Cape Cod?
    Their initial plan was to reach the Colony of Virginia. Instead, they reached Cape Cod which was way further south.
  22. So, we’ve talked about the current situation of the Native Americans. Do you know do they have to pay taxes or do they have to attend military?
  23. No, the Native Americans have the same obligations as the usual Americans.

Visual & rationale


This is a painting by Jean-Léon Gérôme. It depicts the first Thanksgiving. Although Thanksgiving was made a national holiday in the US in 1863, it was celebrated for the first time in 1621. It was then, almost 400 years ago, celebrated by the Pilgrims and Native Americans after a good harvest. The feast in 1621 was also used as a peacemaker between the Pilgrims and Native Americans. It is relevant because today it is a major holiday not only in the US but in Canada, Grenada, Liberia and Saint Lucia as well. It gives friends and family a chance to get together once a year to be thankful for everything they have and celebrate traditions and peace between their Forefathers and Native Americans. The tradition has stayed since the first Thanksgiving to eat turkey.

Critical response

The movie – “Desperate Crossing: The Untold Story of the Mayflower” is mostly based on historical records and in James Wegg’s opinion “the events are largely seen through the eyes of William Bradford”. Which I mostly agree with as he was one of the most important names in the colony at the time hence it would make sense to follow the story through Bradford’s eyes. As it was first released on the History Channel, one could expect a solid production for the movie. That is precisely what was delivered. One could not help but agree with Wegg as he mentions, on the production value of the movie: “first-rate production values (period costumes and replica vessels fill the screen with convincing detail)”. The costumes and the details on the ship were as precise as recreating them would allow. You can imagine that recreating the entirety of the costumes from 1620 would be an exceptionally difficult task but one that the costume designers have done a brilliant job with.

Two reviewers – ‘woodkmw’ and Doug MacLean on IMDb and HomeTheaterInfo, respectively, were under the same opinion that the movie exceeded their previous knowledge that they had gained about the subject from their days at school. Woodkmw explains it: “Like most people from the U.S., my knowledge of the Puritans and the pilgrims in Plymouth is limited to Thanksgiving stories. /…/ I came away with a much better knowledge of early 17th century England, the Massachusetts area of that time, the local native population and the importance of working together and helping each other.” Doug said the same about not learning the subject enough in school: “The only thing most people know about the Pilgrims and their ship, the Mayflower comes from a brief lesson in grade school. Typically this part of American history is presented just before the long Thanksgiving weekend.”

Woodkmw liked what he saw in the movie and thought: “The story covers very well the pilgrims’ life in England, persecution, the Netherlands years, the crossing, why they ended up in what is now Massachusetts (I had no clue before), their very difficult first year, and the interactions with the local Indian population and how they were helped to survive.” I agree with nearly everything besides that the story covered the Pilgrims’ first very difficult year well. In my opinion, the story largely overlooked the difficulties of the Pilgrims’ first year. Especially the part where they struggled the most – the first winter, when more than half of the Pilgrims died. I agree with the user ‘woodkmw’ when he says: “The show is a combination of documentary /…/ And a historically recreated film depicting actors in costume and using the language of the time.” I enjoyed that the language the actors used in the film was authentic. Although at times, it made following the conversations difficult, it also made the film that much more realistic and historically accurate.

All in all, I believe the reviewers agree with me when I say that the movie was very accurate historically although the version we watched was a bit too compressed at some parts. The type of accuracy was to be expected from a movie by the History Channel.

Reviews: ‘woodkmw’ on IMDb – https://www.imdb.com/review/rw1581332/?ref_=tt_urv James Wegg on his own website – http://www.jamesweggreview.org/Articles.aspx?ID=201 Doug MacLean on his own website – http://www.hometheaterinfo.com/desperate_crossing.htm

Patriot

Patriot notions

The origin and essence of the conflict between England and the colony
The colonists in America wanted to establish their own democracy, as they believed it was what God wanted, but England didn’t want then to have that much power.

Boston Tea Party of 1773
The Boston Tea Party was a political and mercantile protest by the Sons of Liberty in Boston, Massachusetts, on December 16, 1773. The target was the Tea Act of May 10, 1773, which allowed the British East India company to sell tea from China in American colonies without paying taxes apart from those imposed by the Townshend Acts. American Patriots strongly opposed the taxes in the Townshend Act as a violation of their rights. Demonstrators, some disguised as Native Americans, destroyed an entire shipment of tea sent by the East India Company. They boarded the ships and threw the chests of tea into the Boston Harbor. The British government responded harshly and the episode escalated into the American Revolution.

Declaration of Independence July 4, 1776
The United States Declaration of Independence is the statement adopted by the Second Continental Congress meeting at the Pennsylvania State House (now known as Independence Hall) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on July 4, 1776. The Declaration announced that the Thirteen Colonies at war with the Kingdom of Great Britain would regard themselves as thirteen independent sovereign states, no longer under British rule. With the Declaration, these new states took a collective first step toward forming the United States of America. Thomas Jefferson was the one who wrote the original draft of the document.

Revolutionary War 1775-1783, reasons, outcome
Reasons
The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), also known as the American War of Independence, was an 18th-century war between Great Britain and its Thirteen Colonies (allied with France) which declared independence as the United States of America. Parliament passed the Stamp Act in 1765 to pay for British military troops stationed in the American colonies after the French and Indian War. Parliament had previously passed legislation to regulate trade, but the Stamp Act introduced a new principle of a direct internal tax. Americans began to question the extent of the British Parliament’s power in America, and the colonial legislatures argued that they had exclusive right to impose taxes within their jurisdictions. The seizure of the sloop Liberty in 1768 on suspicions of smuggling triggered a riot. In response, British troops occupied Boston, and Parliament threatened to extradite colonists to face trial in England. Tensions rose after the murder of Christopher Seider by a customs official in 1770 and escalated into outrage after British troops fired on civilians in the Boston Massacre. In 1772, colonists in Rhode Island boarded and burned a customs schooner. Parliament then repealed all taxes except the one on tea, passing the Tea Act in 1773, attempting to force colonists to buy East India Company tea on which the Townshend duties were paid, thus implicitly agreeing to Parliamentary supremacy. The landing of the tea was resisted in all colonies, but the governor of Massachusetts permitted British tea ships to remain in Boston Harbor, so the Sons of Liberty destroyed the tea chests in what became known as the “Boston Tea Party”. The colonists responded by establishing the Massachusetts Provincial Congress, effectively removing Crown control of the colony outside Boston. Meanwhile, representatives from twelve colonies convened the First Continental Congress to respond to the crisis. The Congress narrowly rejected a proposal to create an American parliament to act in concert with the British Parliament; instead, they passed a compact declaring a trade boycott against Britain. The boycott was effective, as imports from Britain dropped by 97% in 1775 compared to 1774.
Outcomes
– Peace of Paris
– British recognition of American independence
– End of the First British Empire
– British retention of Canada and Gibraltar
– Britain and America both fell into National Debt
– During the war America relied on loans from France, Spain and the Netherlands. So to remedy this the congress decided to print vast amounts of paper money, but the effect of that was disastrous; inflation skyrocketed, and the paper money became virtually worthless.

Articles of Confederation of 1781
The Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union was an agreement among the 13 original states of the United States of America that served as its first constitution. It was approved, after much debate (between July 1776 and November 1777), by the Second Continental Congress on November 15, 1777, and sent to the states for ratification. The Articles of Confederation came into force on March 1, 1781, after being ratified by all 13 states. A guiding principle of the Articles was to preserve the independence and sovereignty of the states. The weak central government established by the Articles received only those powers which the former colonies had recognized as belonging to king and parliament.

Constitutional Convention of 1787
The Constitutional Convention took place from May 25 to September 17, 1787, in the old Pennsylvania State House (later known as Independence Hall) in Philadelphia. Although the Convention was intended to revise the league of states and first system of government under the Articles of Confederation, the intention from the outset of many of its proponents was to create a new government rather than fix the existing one. The delegates elected George Washington of Virginia to preside over the Convention. The result of the Convention was the creation of the Constitution of the United States.

US Constitution and the Bill of Rights
The first 10 amendments to the Constitution make up the Bill of Rights. James Madison wrote the amendments, which list specific prohibitions on governmental power, in response to calls from several states for greater constitutional protection for individual liberties. The Bill of Rights was strongly influenced by the Virginia Declaration of Rights, written by George Mason. Other precursors include English documents such as the Magna Carta, the Petition of Right, the English Bill of Rights, and the Massachusetts Body of Liberties. Created – September 25, 1789, Ratified – December 15, 1791. George Washington had fourteen handwritten copies of the Bill of Rights made, one for Congress and one for each of the original thirteen states. The copy retained by the First Congress has been on display in the National Archives Building in Washington, D.C. since December 13, 1952.

The role of George Washington
He was an American political leader, military general, statesman, and Founding Father who also served as the first president of the United States from 1789 to 1797. He led Patriot forces to victory in the nation’s War of Independence, and he presided at the Constitutional Convention of 1787 which established the new federal government. He has been called the “Father of His Country” for his manifold leadership in the formative days of the new nation. Washington played a key role in the adoption and ratification of the Constitution and was then elected president by the Electoral College in the first two elections. He implemented a strong, well-financed national government while remaining impartial in a fierce rivalry between cabinet members Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton. He set enduring precedents for the office of president, including the title “President of the United States”, and his Farewell Address is widely regarded as a pre-eminent statement on republicanism.

The role of Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson was an American statesman, diplomat, lawyer, architect, and Founding Father who served as the third president of the United States from 1801 to 1809. Previously, he had served as the second vice president of the United States from 1797 to 1801. The principal author of the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson was a proponent of democracy, republicanism, and individual rights, motivating American colonists to break from the Kingdom of Great Britain and form a new nation; he produced formative documents and decisions at both the state and national level. During the American Revolution, he represented Virginia in the Continental Congress that adopted the Declaration, drafted the law for religious freedom as a Virginia legislator, and served as the second Governor of Virginia from 1779 to 1781, during the American Revolutionary War. He became the nation’s first secretary of state under President George Washington. Jefferson and James Madison (later the fourth president of the US) organized the Democratic-Republican Party to oppose the Federalist Party during the formation of the First Party System. With Madison, he anonymously wrote the controversial Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions in 1798 and 1799, which sought to strengthen states’ rights by nullifying the federal Alien and Sedition Acts.

Visual portrayal

What you might not know about the Declaration of Independence

The visual I chose for the movie of “Patriot” and this topic of independence, is a video talking about some things that all people might not know about the Declaration of Independence. I chose this because I am sure most people have a very general knowledge of the Declaration of Independence like me, but this video touches on a few facts that people might not know about it. The Declaration of Independence is a very widely known document all around the world and rightly so, because it is one of the many, if not the most important document in American history. Also, for many countries around the world it was an inspiration, to follow America’s footsteps and try, and fight for their on independence.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LKJMWHCUoiw

Critical response

The movie “The Patriot” takes place in 1776, in South Carolina. The movie follows the life of Benjamin Martin, a veteran from the French and Indian War, who is haunted by his brutal past and wants nothing else, than to live peacefully with his family in his plantation. But he soon needs to abandon his pacifist nature, after an incident takes place, where his second oldest son is killed by a British colonel. That incident was a start for the events, which made him the colonel to the local colonial militia and later led them to win the American Revolutionary War and declare themselves independent. “Strictly amateur night concerning the basic storyline, which does not thoughtfully examine the battle of the Colonies, circa the late-18th century, but lays out a threadbare revenge plotline that is as misguided in its ideas as it is in its lackluster delivery of them,” (Putman, 2000, 1st link). “The Patriot” very obviously is not the favorite movie of this person and they have a lot to say about the movie. All throughout the movie this person criticizes “The Patriot” quite a lot and does not have much nice to say about it, but I personally do not agree a hundred percent with this opinion. Ofcourse, my opinions are coming from a person who has very little knowledge about that era and the historical accuracy of the film, but if a movie has a good storyline, then I am going to watch it and not complain much. I do agree with some of the points the author brings up, but mostly it seems to me the author is being too critical. Overall it seems to me the author has more problems with the characters, rather than the historical accuracy.   “It basically wants to be a summer action movie, with a historical gloss. At that, it succeeds … None of it has much to do with the historical reality of the Revolutionary War, but with such an enormous budget at risk, how could it?” (Ebert, 2000, 2nd link). This review also brings out the many flaws the author finds in the movie, but it also seemed to me that in this review at least, the author also brings out a few things they liked about it. As I mentioned before, I do not have much knowledge about this era, but I feel like this quote is quite accurate, in saying the movie was not meant to be historically correct, but rather entertaining, and that it was. In summary, from these reviews I can definitely tell people who are more familiar with this topic can tell the movie was not the most accurate, but good enough a movie to just watch. There is more emphasis put on the characters, rather than the time period and events that took place, but it really does not bother me as much as the people, who wrote the reviews. I find the movie just fit for me, with enough character development, but at the same time still a war movie.

References:

  1. http://www.all-reviews.com/videos/patriot-2.htm
  2. https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/the-patriot-2000

Mayflower Story

Edward Winslow and Massasoit

This visual depicts the first encounter between the Puritans and Native American tribes in 1620. The picture shows the formal greeting between colonist Edward Winslow and the king of the Wamapnaoag tribe Massasoit in Cape Cod, where the Mayflower had landed ashore. This picture represents the favorable relations between the colonists and indigenous people thanks to the efforts of Edward Winslow. Many early colonists had troubles with the natives and frequent clashes had occurred. However, mister Winslow sought peace when they landed in Cape Cod and founded the new colony of New Plymouth. It is speculated that the local Wamapnaoag tribe’s king Massasoit had fallen ill and the colonist offered a broth made of corn. This cured the illness and regained trust in Indians against the Europeans. Winslow had become the ambassador of Native Americans and this small action proved to be useful for the whole colony.

Mayflower notions

Origin of Native Americans

There are many theories as to who are the ancestors of Native Americans. Today there are three theories, that seem most valid. The first theory mentions the migration from Polynesia and from the northern parts of China. However the most rampant speculation is that natives crossed Beringia, a land bridge between Asia and America, which is now the Bering Strait some 30,000 years ago. It is clear that the migration went on for thousands years and not in one wave.

Different tribes and their way of life

 There are many tribes located across the US. The most known tribes are the Navajo, the Pueblo, the Apache and the Iroquois. The Navajo settlements are located in the western part of the US: Arizona, Utah and New Mexico. The Navajo are with a semi-nomadic lifestyle and the people were hunters-gatherers before the Spanish contact. Their tribe is one of the oldest in the US with their specialty of silversmithing. Also the Navajo formed raid and trade caravans, which travelled through the country.

 The Pueblo live in the same region as the Navajo. They were a static tribe with more permanent and compact villages, which were carved in the faces of cliffs. The residences are called pit houses. The Pueblo are notably skilled at pottery and architecture.

 The Apache reside in New Mexico and in its surrounding areas. Its name derives from the word ápachu, meaning “enemy” in the local language. The Apache were a nomadic tribe and most of the tribesmen were hunters or farmers. They lived in a parsimonious house called tipi. Apaches lived with their immediate family in clusters with others.

 The Iroquois live in the north-eastern region in the United States in states, such as Delaware, New York and Pennsylvania. Similar to the Pueblo the Iroquois were with a stationary way of life. They live in permanent villages in longhouses and today, the Iroquois have formed a confederation, which unites the smaller regions of the tribe.

Legend of Pocahontas

The legend of Pocahontas tells a story of a native American, who wished for peace between the indigenous and the colonists. Pocahontas was a princess from the Powhatan tribe. She saved a colonist named John Smith, who was captured by the locals. During her visit, she converted to Christianity, adopted a new name Rebecca and married to an Englishman. Other residents of the colony dubbed Rebecca a “civilized savage”, as they wanted to increase investment on the new continent. The incident showed, that native Americans could be civilized and converted to Christianity.

Northwest Ordinance of 1787

The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 was proposed by president Thomas Jefferson. The declaration recognized the territory of the US, within the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. The act laid the bases of governing the Northwestern Territory. It stated that the territory is to be divided to districts and each district is run by a governor. The territory was the first region to abolish slavery. In addition, the act stated that each new state is equal to the older states, not inferior, as it was before the ordinance.

Indian Removal Act of 1830

This act was signed by Andrew Jackson in 1830. It granted the government to acquire the land of native tribes. As a consequence, many indigenous tribes were forced to relocate west. It is believed that over 100,000 people were moved to the Rockies for forced labour.

Reservations

The central government of USA reclaimed more lands from the natives after the civil war. This action left natives with no income and poverty and famines followed suit. In 1868, president Ulysses S. Grant gave back many areas of land to the locals, in an effort to make peace between homeless natives and the government. Today there are 326 reservations for natives, some of these benefit from resources and others suffer from economic and social problems.

Indian citizenship Act of 1924

A congressman Homer P. Synder supported the act of giving indigenous Americans US citizenship. The proposal came to light after the First World War, where natives could serve in the army, but were not allowed to vote.

Trail of Broken Treaties of 1972

The Trail of Broken Treaties was a protest dedicated to the horrible living conditions of indigenous Americans. The protest swept the nation and protesters formed a caravan from Washington D.C to the Pacific coast. The rebels even conquered the Bureau of Indian Affairs. At the end, the protesters were heard and the government commenced negotiations to improve the situation of natives.

Present situation

Today there are approximately 9 million native Americans in the US, which makes up about 0.9% of the whole population. However, the problems of native Americans are still apparent, mainly due to the inequality between Americans and the indigenous. These problems include lack of education for natives, living conditions and bad housing. Another issue is the emigration of natives from the reservations to big cities. As it is seen, the gap between the local tribes and USA is still visible.

Jamestown colony

On May 14, 1607, 100 members of Virginia Company founded the first permanent English settlement in North America on the banks of the James River. Famine, disease and conflict with local Native American tribes in the first two years brought Jamestown to the brink of failure before the arrival of a new group of settlers and supplies in 1610. After the marriage of colonist John Rolfe and Pocahontas came a period of peace. Living conditions: In 1607 Captain Newport went back to England with 2 ships and 40 men to give a report to the king and to gather more supplies and colonists. The settlers left behind suffered greatly from hunger and illness. They were drinking water from the salty and slimy river which caused many deaths. They were dying from swellings, fluxes, fevers, by famine, and by conflicts with Algonquian tribes. The winter of 1609-10 is known as the “Starving Time.” By early 1610, 80-90% of the settlers had died due to starvation and disease. Population: By 1699 there were around 60,000 people in the Virginia colony, including about 6,000 African slaves. Plantations: Brits learned from the Native Americans how to harvest corn, and by the fall of 1611 they had harvested a decent amount of corn themselves. In 1614 a tobacco planter John Rolfe introduced a new type of tobacco and the Brits started to grow tobacco which made Jamestown’s economy thrive. Import of slaves: In 1619 the first African slaves arrived in Jamestown, their job was to pick tobacco. Their presence opened the door for Virginia to accept the institution of slavery. Jamestown had started a tradition of slavery that would endure in America for generations.

Mayflower and Pilgrim Fathers

Pilgrim Fathers were members of the English Separatist Church (a radical faction of Puritanism). They fled the Protestant England because of religious intolerance during the reign of James I to establish the second English colony in the New World. They wanted to practice their religion freely while maintaining their English identity. They had earlier fled to Leiden, the Netherlands, to escape persecution at home. But they wanted more religious freedom and because of that they negotiated with a London stock company to finance a pilgrimage to America. Approximately two-thirds of the passengers on the Mayflower were non-Separatists, who were hired to protect the company’s interests. They became known as the Pilgrim Fathers 2 centuries after their arrival, they were initially referred to as the Old Comers and later as the Forefathers. Mayflower was the ship that carried Pilgrims from England to Plymouth. It’s estimated that the ship weighed about 180 tons and was 27 meters long. The ship was a cargo ship for merchants, but it was used by the Puritans and Pilgrims to cross the Atlantic ocean.

Mayflower Compact

The Mayflower Compact was a set of rules for self-governance established by the English settlers who travelled to the New World on the Mayflower. At first they wanted to sail to the northern Virginia, but because of storms and treacherous shoals they landed in Massachusetts, near Cape Cod, outside of Virginia’s jurisdiction instead. Because they knew that life without laws would be catastrophic, they created the Mayflower Compact to ensure that the functioning social structure would prevail.

Puritan Colony in Plymouth, New England

In 1620 December around 100 English settlers landed on the shores of Cape Cod. They formed the first permanent settlement of Europeans in New England. More than half the settlers died during the first winter but the survivors were able to secure peace treaties with neighboring Native American tribes. Though the Separatists were a minority in the group, they formed its powerful center, and controlled entirely the colony’s government during its first 40 years. Thanks to the successful peace treaties, the settlers were able to build a viable settlement for themselves instead of guarding themselves against the attacks. Agriculture, fishing and trading helped to make the colony self-sufficient within 5 years.

Puritan ethics and ideology

Puritan ethic is the value attached to hard work, thrift, and efficiency in one’s worldly calling. Richard Baxter, English Puritan Church leader, said “Promise not long life to yourselves, but live as those that are always uncertain of another day.” For the Puritans was important to “redeem the time”, that meant to order one’s daily life in accordance with godly principles and for maximum effectiveness. Puritans put God first and valued everything else in relation to God. Puritan ideology: When Puritans had settled in the New England they had only one goal in mind: to regain closeness to God and start a New Eden in the Americas. This was to be accomplished by adopting a simple life and rejecting worldliness.

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving dates back to November 1621, when the newly arrived Pilgrims and the Wampnaoag Indians gathered at Plymouth for an autumn harvest celebration. Thanksgiving, which occurs on the fourth Thursday in November, continues to be a day for Americans to gather for a day of feasting, football and family.

Religious issues (freedom)

By law everybody was supposed to belong to the Church of England. William Laud, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and Charles I were strongly opposed to the Puritans and wanted to suppress them.

Quakers

The Quaker Movement or the Religious Society of Friends was founded in England in the 17th century by George Fox. He and other early Quakers, were persecuted for their beliefs, which included the idea that the presence of God exists in every person. Quakers rejected elaborate religious ceremonies, didn’t have official clergy (religious leaders) and believed in spiritual equality for men and women. Quaker missionaries first arrived in America in the mid-1650s. Quakers, who practice pacifism (the belief that war is wrong), played a key role in the Abolition (the official end of slavery in the US) and women’s rights movements.

The historical accuracy of the movie

I believe that the movie “Desperate Crossing – The True Story of the Mayflower” is mostly historically accurate. The movie explained with great accuracy the premises on why the Puritans wanted to go to America and what what was the frugal and terrible life on the Mayflower. The movie covered the importance of Native Americans in sustaining the new colony New Plymouth. To add, the tradition of Thanksgiving is thoroughly explained in the movie. A review of the movie mentioned the role of narrators: “…, leaving it to the commentators to fill in historical gaps and provide balance, notably Jonathan Perry and Linda Coombs from the Wampanoag Indigenous Program.” I agree with the review and the importance of balancing the viewpoints between the colonists’ and natives’ thoughts in the movie, as historians of the colonists and natives expressed their premises.

However, there are some important milestones and details of the Pilgrims’ voyage across the ocean. Firstly, the movie does not refer to the Mayflower Compact. Because the colonists did not reach their intended landing area, they had to make rules for governing between themselves in a new world, in order to prevent corruption and unfair treatment and to preserve the ruling power. If the colonists had not signed the Mayflower Compact, their community would have been destroyed. As it is such an important aspect of the colonists’ arrival to America, I find it disappointing, that the film does not cover the topic.

In addition, the movie does not portray the living conditions of New Plymouth during their first winter. Many sources claim that over half of the newcomers died within the winter of 1620-1621. The film does not infer to the tragical losses of colonists due to famine, cold temperatures and local diseases. It portrays a perfect haven, where the economy flourishes and the residents are healthy. The film skips the first years of the colony and illustrates the life of the colonists too much. If the movie incorporated the harsh conditions during the first year in America, it would give a more realistic insight on the lives of the colonists.

The requisites used in the movie were in fact very realistic. A reviewer said: “The show is a combination of a documentary … and a historically recreated film depicting actors in costume and using the language of the time.” I agree that the costumes and replicas of the ships created an authentic atmosphere and the effort of learning and using Old English is well appreciated. The narration of the show is engaging and it helps to understand the motives of why the Puritans decided to go to America.

To sum up, I think that the program fairly covers the main notions on the topic of Pilgrim Fathers, Puritans and their trip to America. The movie meticulously explains the role of local tribesmen on the welfare of colonists, the creation of Thanksgiving and the reasons on why the Puritans decided to go to the New World. However, some key details, such as the Mayflower Compact and the bad conditions of colonists in their first winter in America, were left untouched by the film. But with a true environment, the program is, as a critic put it, “like taking a time machine back to the 1600’s.”

Sources

http://www.hometheaterinfo.com/desperate_crossing.htm
http://www.jamesweggreview.org/Articles.aspx?ID=201
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0493146/reviews?ref_=ttexrv_sa_3
https://www.britannica.com/topic/Mayflower-ship
https://www.history.com/topics/colonial-america/mayflower
https://www.history101.com/constipation-chieftain-plymouth-colony/
https://www.history.com/topics/colonial-america/plymouth

Mayflower

Mayflower notions group I

Origin of Native Americans
There are many theories as to who are the ancestors of Native Americans. Today there are three theories, that seem most valid. The first theory mentions the migration from Polynesia and from the northern parts of China. However the most rampant speculation is that natives crossed Beringia, a land bridge between Asia and America, which is now the Bering Strait some 30,000 years ago. It is clear that the migration went on for thousands years and not in one wave.

Different tribes and their way of life
There are many tribes located across the US. The most known tribes are the Navajo, the Pueblo, the Apache and the Iroquois. The Navajo settlements are located in the western part of the US: Arizona, Utah and New Mexico. The Navajo are with a semi-nomadic lifestyle and the people were hunters-gatherers before the Spanish contact. Their tribe is one of the oldest in the US with their specialty of silversmithing. Also the Navajo formed raid and trade caravans, which travelled through the country.
The Pueblo live in the same region as the Navajo. They were a static tribe with more permanent and compact villages, which were carved in the faces of cliffs. The residences are called pit houses. The Pueblo are notably skilled at pottery and architecture.
The Apache reside in New Mexico and in its surrounding areas. Its name derives from the word ápachu, meaning “enemy” in the local language. The Apache were a nomadic tribe and most of the tribesmen were hunters or farmers. They lived in a parsimonious house called tipi. Apaches lived with their immediate family in clusters with others.
The Iroquois live in the north-eastern region in the United States in states, such as Delaware, New York and Pennsylvania. Similar to the Pueblo the Iroquois were with a stationary way of life. They live in permanent villages in longhouses and today, the Iroquois have formed a confederation, which unites the smaller regions of the tribe.

Legend of Pocahontas
The legend of Pocahontas tells a story of a native American, who wished for peace between the indigenous and the colonists. Pocahontas was a princess from the Powhatan tribe. She saved a colonist named John Smith, who was captured by the locals. During her visit, she converted to Christianity, adopted a new name Rebecca and married to an Englishman. Other residents of the colony dubbed Rebecca a “civilized savage”, as they wanted to increase investment on the new continent. The incident showed, that native Americans could be civilized and converted to Christianity.

Northwest Ordinance of 1787
The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 was proposed by president Thomas Jefferson. The declaration recognized the territory of the US, within the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. The act laid the bases of governing the Northwestern Territory. It stated that the territory is to be divided to districts and each district is run by a governor. The territory was the first region to abolish slavery. In addition, the act stated that each new state is equal to the older states, not inferior, as it was before the ordinance.

Indian Removal Act of 1830
This act was signed by Andrew Jackson in 1830. It granted the government to acquire the land of native tribes. As a consequence, many indigenous tribes were forced to relocate west. It is believed that over 100,000 people were moved to the Rockies for forced labour.

Reservations
The central government of USA reclaimed more lands from the natives after the civil war. This action left natives with no income and poverty and famines followed suit. In 1868, president Ulysses S. Grant gave back many areas of land to the locals, in an effort to make peace between homeless natives and the government. Today there are 326 reservations for natives, some of these benefit from resources and others suffer from economic and social problems.

Indian citizenship Act of 1924
A congressman Homer P. Synder supported the act of giving indigenous Americans US citizenship. The proposal came to light after the First World War, where natives could serve in the army, but were not allowed to vote.

Trail of Broken Treaties of 1972
The Trail of Broken Treaties was a protest dedicated to the horrible living conditions of indigenous Americans. The protest swept the nation and protesters formed a caravan from Washington D.C to the Pacific coast. The rebels even conquered the Bureau of Indian Affairs. At the end, the protesters were heard and the government commenced negotiations to improve the situation of natives.

Present situation
Today there are approximately 9 million native Americans in the US, which makes up about 9% of the whole population. However, the problems of native Americans are still apparent, mainly due to the inequality between Americans and the indigenous. These problems include lack of education for natives, living conditions and bad housing. Another issue is the emigration of natives from the reservations to big cities. As it is seen, the gap between the local tribes and USA is still visible.

Mayflower notions group II

Jamestown colony
On May 14, 1607, 100 members of Virginia Company founded the first permanent English settlement in North America on the banks of the James River. Famine, disease and conflict with local Native American tribes in the first two years brought Jamestown to the brink of failure before the arrival of a new group of settlers and supplies in 1610. After the marriage of colonist John Rolfe and Pocahontas came a period of peace. Living conditions: In 1607 Captain Newport went back to England with 2 ships and 40 men to give a report to the king and to gather more supplies and colonists. The settlers left behind suffered greatly from hunger and illness. They were drinking water from the salty and slimy river which caused many deaths. They were dying from swellings, fluxes, fevers, by famine, and by conflicts with Algonquian tribes. The winter of 1609-10 is known as the “Starving Time.” By early 1610, 80-90% of the settlers had died due to starvation and disease. Population: By 1699 there were around 60,000 people in the Virginia colony, including about 6,000 African slaves. Plantations: Brits learned from the Native Americans how to harvest corn, and by the fall of 1611 they had harvested a decent amount of corn themselves. In 1614 a tobacco planter John Rolfe introduced a new type of tobacco and the Brits started to grow tobacco which made Jamestown’s economy thrive. Import of slaves: In 1619 the first African slaves arrived in Jamestown, their job was to pick tobacco. Their presence opened the door for Virginia to accept the institution of slavery. Jamestown had started a tradition of slavery that would endure in America for generations. (In 1606, King James I granted a charter to a new venture, the Virginia Company, to form a settlement in North America. At the time, Virginia was the English name for the entire eastern coast of North America north of Florida; they had named it for Elizabeth I, the “virgin queen.” The Virginia Company planned to search for gold and silver deposits in the New World, as well as a river route to the Pacific Ocean that would allow them to establish trade with the Orient.)

Mayflower and Pilgrim Fathers
Pilgrim Fathers were members of the English Separatist Church (a radical faction of Puritanism). They fled the Protestant England because of religious intolerance during the reign of James I to establish the second English colony in the New World. They wanted to practice their religion freely while maintaining their English identity. They had earlier fled to Leiden, the Netherlands, to escape persecution at home. But they wanted more religious freedom and because of that they negotiated with a London stock company to finance a pilgrimage to America. Approximately two-thirds of the passengers on the Mayflower were non-Separatists, who were hired to protect the company’s interests. They became known as the Pilgrim Fathers 2 centuries after their arrival, they were initially referred to as the Old Comers and later as the Forefathers. Mayflower was the ship that carried Pilgrims from England to Plymouth. It’s estimated that the ship weighed about 180 tons and was 27 meters long.

Mayflower Compact
The Mayflower Compact was a set of rules for self-governance established by the English settlers who travelled to the New World on the Mayflower. At first they wanted to sail to the northern Virginia, but because of storms and treacherous shoals they landed in Massachusetts, near Cape Cod, outside of Virginia’s jurisdiction instead. Because they knew that life without laws would be catastrophic, they created the Mayflower Compact to ensure that the functioning social structure would prevail.

Puritan Colony in Plymouth, New England
In 1620 December around 100 English settlers landed on the shores of Cape Cod. They formed the first permanent settlement of Europeans in New England. More than half the settlers died during the first winter but the survivors were able to secure peace treaties with neighboring Native American tribes. Though the Separatists were a the group, they formed its powerful center, and controlled entirely the colony’s government during its first 40 years. Thanks to the successful peace treaties, the settlers were able to build a viable settlement for themselves instead of guarding themselves against the attacks. Agriculture, fishing and trading helped to make the colony self-sufficient within 5 years.

Puritan ethics and ideology
Puritan ethic is the value attached to hard work, thrift, and efficiency in one’s worldly calling. Richard Baxter, English Puritan Church leader, said “Promise not long life to yourselves, but live as those that are always uncertain of another day.” For the Puritans was important to “redeem the time”, that meant to order one’s daily life in accordance with godly principles and for maximum effectiveness. Puritans put God first and valued everything else in relation to God. Puritan ideology: When Puritans had settled in the New England they had only one goal in mind: to regain closeness to God and start a New Eden in the Americas. This was to be accomplished by adopting a simple life and rejecting worldliness.

Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving dates back to November 1621, when the newly arrived Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Indians gathered at Plymouth for an autumn harvest celebration. Thanksgiving, which occurs on the fourth Thursday in November, continues to be a day for Americans to gather for a day of feasting, football and family.

Religious issues (freedom)
By law everybody was supposed to belong to the Church of England. William Laud (the Archbishop of Canterbury) and Charles I were strongly opposed to the Puritans and wanted to suppress them.

Quakers
The Quaker Movement or the Religious Society of Friends was founded in England in the 17th century by George Fox. He and other early Quakers, were persecuted for their beliefs, which included the idea that the presence of God exists in every person. Quakers rejected elaborate religious ceremonies, didn’t have official clergy (religious leaders) and believed in spiritual equality for men and women. Quaker missionaries first arrived in America in the mid-1650s. Quakers, who practice pacifism (the belief that war is wrong), played a key role in the Abolition (the official end of slavery in the US) and women’s rights movements.

Visual portrayal

Mayflower Compact

The visual, that I decided to add to my blog is the Mayflower Compact. I chose this, because in my opinion it is on of the most important documents in American history, after the Declaration of Independence. But as we know the Declaration of Independence drew inspiration from the Mayflower Compact, so in a way it could seem even more important than the declaration itself. It shows that the pilgrims knew, that to secure order and peace, they need rules and laws, and this document sets this intention in stone as it is signed by 41 of the male passengers, who arrived in America on the Mayflower. In a way this document represents the beginning of the America we know now.

Critical response

The story about the Mayflower and first puritans, who travelled from Europe to America, is undoubtedly one of the many, if not the most important story in American history. It shows the people of today how was the foundation was laid back then, for there to be the United States of America there is today. There are different ways to let people know about how this time period and the events that took place at that time, and one way to do that is visually. But we can never really be sure if what we are being shown is accurate or not, most of the time we have to take the authors’ interpretation of a certain topic as truth. So comparing different sources of information we can piece together what is facts and what is not historically the most accurate.
When comparing the movie “Mayflower Story” to information on the website history.com, I found some inconsistencies between the movie and articles on the website. First, the sentence “The winter of 1620-1621 was brutal, as the Pilgrims struggled to build their settlement, find food and ward off sickness. By spring, 50 of the original 102 Mayflower passengers were dead,” is never shown or even mentioned in the film, but in my opinion this a very important thing to mention, because 50% of the pilgrims dying the very first winter they got there definitely has some importance and shows how hard the conditions the people were living in were at that time (History, 2009). Also overall it seems to me, that the movie doesn’t really go in depth on what the living conditions and how the people’s daily lives looked like.
Another thing that leaves me confused is Thanksgiving. In the movie it is said that the pilgrims celebrated their great harvest results from that year, inviting the natives to feast together with them. And the same information is on the history.com website (History, 2009). This celebration is usually considered the very first Thanksgiving, even if the pilgrims at that time didn’t call it that themselves. But an article I found, on businessinsider.com talks about the history of Thanksgiving can date back to even further and might not be as nice as it is usually seen. The article says: “Settlers in Berkeley Hundred in Virginia decided to celebrate their arrival with an annual Thanksgiving back in 1619 … and decades before that, Spanish settlers and members of the Seloy tribe broke bread with salted pork, garbanzo beans, and a Mass in 1565 Florida,” which is quite different from the movie (Cain, 2017). But I can not put much blame on the movie for this, because more commonly people know the story of pilgrims and natives from 1621, and both stories can be feasible in my eyes.
In conclusion, i think the movie definitely misses some details and gives a very overall view of this story. It could have definitely done a better job of explaining some components, but it someone needs a very basic knowledge of what, when and where happened, this is not a bad movie for that purpose. But I would surely recommend those people to do some extra research on their own to get a better and more in depth understanding of what happened.

References:

  1. https://www.businessinsider.com/history-of-thanksgiving-2017-11
  2. https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/mayflower-docks-at-plymouth-harbor
  3. https://www.history.com/topics/thanksgiving/history-of-thanksgiving

Mayflower Story

The first movie we watched in this course is called “Desperate Crossing–The Untold Story of the Mayflower”. Released in 2006, it is a History Channel documentary-drama that tells the story of the Pilgrims all the way back to the beginning when they first left England for Holland. This first part of their journey lasted 13 years before they actually made the crossing of the ocean in the Mayflower. Continue reading “Mayflower Story”