Sunny Days in Heaven
Spiritual/Political/Philosophical Blog on the Nature of Truth and Falsehood and Heaven

Friday, March 05, 2004  

The Pilgrims' Progress

American history has been so distorted and abused these last few decades that no one is being informed of the simple and incredible facts.

The impression our children are given is that the Pilgrims washed up on shore, slaughtered the Indians, and got rich quick on all that free land they stole.

How did the Pilgrims actually feel on that day they landed?

"[T]hey had now no friends to wellcome them, nor inns to entertaine or refresh their weatherbeaten bodys, no houses or much less townes to repair too, to seek for succoure.

[W]hat could they see but a hidious and desolate wildernes, full of wild beasts and wild men? and what multituds ther might be of them they knew not. Neither could they, as it were, goe up to the tope of Pisgah, to vew from this wildernes a more goodly cuntrie to feed their hops...If they looked behind them, ther was the mighty ocean which they had passed, and was now as a maine barr and goulfe to separate them from all the civill parts of the world." William Bradford, eyewitness

If they had firearms, they would have been nearly useless as weapons. The bows and arrows of the Indians were far more effective.

The Pilgrims were not immigrants, either, as so many like to assert these days. They were colonists which means conquorers. It cost them dearly in blood to win the land just as it cost the Indians dearly in blood to lose the land.

But people who have to fight, organize, invent, unite, and improvise to survive are much different people than those who simply show up after all the danger has passed, and apply for a job.

But the Puritans did something even more interesting. They tried to establish a religious state. Their colony was not open to anyone. If you didn't adhere to its religious orthodoxy, you were not welcome or allowed to vote. Yet, their insistence on religious conformity created the most self-reliant spirit in them, at the same time fostering deep concern for the community.

Whereas the Quakers who had little religious dogma, became inflexible, unrealistic, insular, and absurd in practice.

The Puritans wanted people to be good, but weren't surprised when they weren't. The Quakers thought people were good, and refused to believe it when they weren't.

The Puritans were my people. They came over in the mid 1600's to Massachusetts. I hope their courage, accomplishments, heroism, and devotion to freedom and truth will be remembered one day; and that my progeny will recall the stock they sprang from - an extraordinary race of people worthy of respect and admiration.

That they should be so mocked and scorned these days -- well, that's to mock and scorn America itself.

posted by Mark Butterworth | 11:26 AM |