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Relationship between william bradford and the native americans

Wednesday, January 9, 2013 William Bradford and Plymouth Plantation Much of America's early history is shrouded in myth, and this myth is reinforced by the sanitized stories we like to tell ourselves on holidays like Thanksgiving.

As with much history, the complex reality turns out to be much more interesting than any myth. Bradford was a "pilgrim" on the Mayflower and he was elected governor of the newly-formed colony. He was born in England to modestly well-off parents.

Around age 12 or 13, he was captivated by the sermons of the "Nonconformist" minister Richard Clyftonwho spoke against the church of England.

Pilgrims and Indians: A practical relationship

His history of the Plymouth colony gives fascinating insight into what life was like for the "pilgrims". While his faith clearly gave him and his companions purpose and hope in very difficult times half of the settlers died in the first winterhis faith also gave him a sense of moral and cultural superiority over the Native Americans, whom he refers to as "barbarians" and "savages".

3b. William Bradford and the First Thanksgiving

Bradford interpreted this victory which mainly had to do with the fact that the pilgrims had guns and the Indians did not as a sign of Divine favor.

A Norton footnote explains, "Many of those who came to Plymouth with them [the Puritans] were not church members but adventurers looking forward to business success and making new lives in the New World.

Indian Relations Bradford describes the first peace treaty between the pilgrims and the Native Americans, which was facilitated by the famous Squanto and Samosetwhich is heart-wrenching to read in light of the violent history that followed: That neither he Massasoit, chief of the Wampanoag nor any of his should injure or do hurt to any of their the Plymouth Colony people.

That if any of his did hurt to any of theirs, he should send the offender that they might punish him.

How are Native Americans represented in William Bradford

That if anything were taken away from any of theirs, he should cause it to be restored; and they should do the like to his.

If any did unjustly war against him, they would aid him; if any did war against them, he should aid them.

Differing Views of Pilgrims and Native Americans in Seventeenth-Century New England

He should send to his neighbors confederates to certify them of this, that they might not wrong them, but might be likewise comprised in the conditions of peace. That when their men came to them, they should leave their bows and arrows behind them. Squanto, who served as interpreter and liaison between the Indians and the pilgrims, had a rather intense life.

He was captured as a slave by one of John Smith's men, sold to Spain, escaped to England, and sailed back to the New World in the company of an Englishman named Dermer, for whom he served as interpreter and liaison with a Native population who were quite understandably becoming increasingly hostile with the gun-toting European settlers like the pilgrims.

The First Thanksgiving The famous first Thanksgiving is not recorded by Bradford as a specific event, but rather a brief time period when there was sharing of food and friendly relations between the settlers and the Native Americans. Thomas Morton of Merrymount Perhaps the most interesting and least well-known tale from Bradford's account is of a a man named Thomas Mortonwho was hated by the pilgrims and loved by the Native Americans.

He was a lawyer, scholar, and social reformer who convinced the Indians of his area to oust the local slave-trading English lieutenant, and free themselves. Morton set up a kind of proto-hippie utopian commune where there was equality and much merry-making, hence the name, Merrymount.

Morton was also a writer and poet.

Bradford’s Description of the Indians: A Changing Perspective?

His book New English Canaan was harshly critical of the Puritans and their treatment of Native Ameriacns, and sought a more enlightened, tolerant policy.

The last straw came when Morton began selling guns to the Native Americans to protect themselves. Bradford and other colonial leaders got together a militia, raided Merrymount, captured Morton, and banished him to an island off the coast of New Hampshire. It was Bradford's, not Morton's, ideas that would prevail in the early American experiment.