Blog: Pilgrims and Puritans

Blog: Pilgrims and Puritans


By Evan Papamichael

Manuscript Master Evan


 The Massachusetts Historical Society (in collaboration with -  J STOR)

 Pilgrims and Puritans: “Heroes” and “Villains” in the Creation of the American Past.

Author(s): Peter J. Gomes

Source: Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, Third Series, Vol. 95 (1983), pp. 1-16

Published by: Massachusetts Historical Society

Stable URL:

Accessed: Thursday, 07-07-2016 04:03 UTC


A positive approach was taken by the Plymouth Colony settlers to sacrifice their autonomy. This would benefit most if not all in the long term. Such a cause was perceived as a valid anticipation as it would be advantageous to: their Church, Government and Schooling System.

The first major transformation in the new colony was as follows:

Gomes (1983:1) points out that: …” after a fitful legal existence of some 70 years, the Plymouth Colony first and oldest New England settlement, ceased to exist. Its last governor, Thomas Hinckley, welcomed the end of independence and took comfort that the stronger Bay Colony would now support the faltering cause of religion and education in Plymouth”…

A notable outcome was: that a heritage listed colonization body, evaporated into thin air. It took on, a transformation - which would reshape and rewrite - the USA history books.

The end result was; an eradication of historic settlement. It was met with a warm reception: by the former Governor.

The legal process in changing the political landscape developed further.

The benefits of such political movements - were widespread in Plymouth. This included, the settlers’ faith and schooling system.

The Plymouth Church is personified as being holy, pure, miraculous, dignified and superior. In this sense, it was watched over and protected; and, in return - a day of Thanksgiving was announced – to reflect that; this Holy Denomination, was guided and blessed: by the Heavenly Saints.

The Plymouth Colony’s Church was concentrated in this manner; its people were entrenched in a strong hold; of saint-like “Thanksgiving” which encompassed the the Government; and, dated back to the Mayflower.

Gomes (1983:1) states: “In April 1693, the Plymouth Church, founded by John Robinson and rooted in Scrooby, Leyden, and the Mayflower, declared a day of Thanksgiving that government was still in the hands of the saints.”

This hagiographical description indicates that the Plymouth colonists were: confident, capable, knowledgeable, pious, dignified, honourable; and, accustomed to the pure and honest - teachings of the Holy Bible and were obedient and punctual -  towards the Christian faith.

However, these people’s belief in religion and education were: hesitant and uncertain. People were nervous because they did not know what to do. They lost confidence in what they were practicing. The situation became weaker or slower, in an uneven way.

Gomes (1983:1) highlights that:

…”By legislative action in London and inaction in Plymouth, the Old Colony returned to the obscurity from which it had emerged on the Mayflower’s tide in 1620; historians would assign to it a moral but minor role in the larger drama of Puritanism to which the Pilgrims were character players but not stars”…

An important juxtaposition is made above, on the conflict of interest between the Puritans and Pilgrims.


The Plymouth Colony faced a, dilemma. This was due to, inconsistencies adopted towards the colonists; by, the English Parliament in the Mother Country; and, a lack of proper cooperation; and, effective political muscle - to run strong and effective rule - in the new land. Hence, a dire situation was forthcoming: which led to the similar; inadequacies faced at the time; as when the Mayflower, initially arrived in New England in, 1620.

This phenomenon fuelled: the upcoming controversial debate about; whether the Puritans or Pilgrims were to blame; for this challenging and distracting situation; which the colony would face - for, many years to come.

Which political and religious milestones were achieved in, Plymouth? Who were the groups responsible, for these results? Was it the Puritans or Pilgrims: who were the beneficiaries of these, advantageous and successful outcomes? To what extent can the Puritans or Pilgrims - be proven to be the winners or losers in this game of dominance – in Church and State; in, the New England Colony of Plymouth?

My next blog will argue: in an articulate way – how these issues were assessed – by Historians; and, judged on their, merits and significance.


No Comments Yet.

Leave a comment