Early American History

(Part 2)

 

Early American History should be remembered as a time of exclusion because even though many of the people coming over here were victims of religious persecution, many still did not tolerate any other religions than their own. A prime example of this is the Puritans in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. ‘We shall open the mouths of enemies to speak evil of the ways of God.’ from ‘City upon a Hill’ by John Winthrop. This quote demonstrates that the Puritans were of faith that any one who spoke ill of their belief and of their God, were their enemies and were the enemies of God.

They now live in peace with one another.’ This is a quote from Hiawatha, one of the co-founders of the Iroquois League. The quote relates that with accepting peace, you can have unity. And when you have unity, you will have peace. That advanced cycle of cooperation is what made the Iroquois League survive for hundreds of years. We knows this because the ‘Founding of The Iroquois League’ and the ‘Iroquois Constitution’ were accomplished in the 15th /16th century and the Iroquois League was still strong in the 18th century. On the other hand, an example of colonist unity is from the primary source document the ‘Mayflower Compact’. This document was written and signed on board the Mayflower by all the passengers right before they set on land. The majority of the passengers were a group of religious persecution refugees, the Pilgrims, including the leader and most probable author of this, William Bradford. The Pilgrims could only be described as a strong group, evident by the way they led Plymouth colony through harsh winters and starvation, in the early settlement years, to continuous survival up to the French-Indian war. There is speculation that the Pilgrims forced all the other minorities on board to sign, because we know there were heated disagreements and an almost mutiny between the Pilgrims and other passengers when on this voyage. Whatever way, forced or not, the Pilgrims achieved unity that day when every passenger signed a compact, agreeing to obey this government they were to help set up. This is a powerful quote from the ‘Mayflower Compact’, setting the tone for the colony. ‘Combine ourselves together into a civil Body Politick, for our better Ordering and Preservation, and Furtherance of the Ends aforesaid; And by Virtue hereof to enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal Laws, Ordinances, Acts, Constitutions and Offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the General good of the Colony;’ This was setting down the first laws and ways of the new world, especially the Plymouth colony. By combining to make a government (‘civil Body Politick’) they were on the road to democracy, although that would come at a much later date. The Pilgrims were much closer to basic unity, a miniature society where the colonists would cooperate, compose a government, and rule themselves as justly as one would ideal. These specific colonists realized that with unity, they were to prosper.

 

 

American History