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William Bradford

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❶This group decided that reform of the Church of England was hopeless and they would sever all ties. By morning the weather had cleared and they saw a harbor "fitt for shipping.

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William Bradford was born in in the Yorkshire farming community of Austerfield, England. In his early childhood, both parents died. The boy was shuttled among several relatives, never staying long anywhere. He was about 12 when he happened into the neighboring town of Scrooby. A church service was in progress which astonished him by its fellowship and its lack of ritual.

By the age of 17 Bradford was a fully committed member, sharing the radical idea of separating from the official Church of England - a dangerous decision, for Separatist leaders were hunted and imprisoned.

When the congregation learned that the king, James I, intended to "harry them from the land," they fled to the Netherlands. Here, for 12 years, first in Amsterdam and then in Leiden, Bradford and the rest of the exiles lived and worshipped according to their beliefs.

Life in the old university town of Leiden was difficult. Many of the refugees, including Bradford, eked out a bare living as textile workers. The church, now led by the charismatic John Robinson, faced other problems. The Netherlands teetered on the brink of war with Catholic Spain and the Dutch government, pressured by their English ally King James, harassed the refugees.

Presses printing Separatist tracts were smashed and some of the English had rocks thrown at them. Bradford, now 30 years old and married with a young son, was in the thick of the planning. Government permissions, financing, ship hire and provisioning, and a potentially dangerous first stop in England had to be worked out.

There were heartaches as well — not everybody could go. The majority of the congregation remained in Holland and with them remained their dearly-loved Pastor Robinson.

Yet, as Bradford wrote, "they knew they were pilgrims, and looked not much on those things, but lifted up their eyes to the heavens, their dearest country, and quieted their spirits.

From these he later crafted his journal, known today as Of Plymouth Plantation. Clearly, lack of money was the most persistent problem.

Eventually, the "Saints," as they now called themselves, were forced to join forces with "Strangers" — people unconnected with the church but willing to pay passage to the new land of opportunity. This alliance was uneasy, particularly when one of the two ships seemed unequal to the rough autumnal Atlantic.

This meant that passengers including 35 children, along with young teens and several pregnant women were crammed below decks on the Mayflower , a ship that was about 90 feet long and 26 feet broad amidships.

With the first of the bad weather some of the "Strangers" and crewmen began a buzz of "discontented and mutinous speeches. Nearly all the passengers were wretchedly seasick.

One, John Howland, fell overboard but miraculously survived "though he was somewhat ill with it, yet he lived many years after," wrote Bradford.

She cracked a main beam. More and more mariners wanted to turn back. Yet even as they neared landfall certain of the "Strangers" threatened "when they came ashore they would use their own liberty, for none had power to command them. They now knew they were not arriving at the legally designated destination of North Virginia but in New England — and winter was upon them. After 65 days at sea the exhausted company could go no further.

Here must they stay — and stay together if they were to survive. A meeting was called, attended by nearly all the adult male passengers. Both "Saints" and "Strangers" recognized that preservation was their paramount necessity. This was spelled out in a covenant outlining their decision for unity.

This document binding them into a "civil body politic" is known as the Mayflower Compact. Click here for the text of the Mayflower Compact. The original Compact has not survived. The reliable, careful Bradford, however, made a true copy.

It provided the basics for self-government based on the general good, tenets which would reappear many times in the future. The following year the first governor of Plymouth, John Carver, died, and Bradford was elected to succeed him.

He held the position until , but served as an assistant to Governor Winslow and Governor Prence for brief periods during his tenure. In he married Alice Carpenter Southworth, with whom he fathered three children. His son from his first marriage and two children from Alice's first marriage were also part of the Bradford household, as were two sons of deceased friends.

In Bradford began work on Of Plymouth Plantation, in response, some scholars suggest, to the arrival of the settlers of the nearby Massachusetts Bay Colony. In the same year, the Council for New England issued the Warwick Patent for the colony of New Plymouth in Bradford's name, meaning that he could, if he wished, become the sole proprietor of the colony. True to his principles, Bradford instead shared his rights with those who had come with him to New England.

Toward the end of his career, however, Bradford came to feel that the young people of the colony did not share those principles. He wrote three dialogues—only two of which have survived, one dated and another from —between the original settlers of Plymouth and colonists born in New England.

In the dialogues Bradford attempts to explain the values of Puritanism and the sacrifices of the founders of Plymouth. From until his death in he also expressed these themes in verse, but neither they nor the dialogues were widely read. Bradford's most important work is Of Plymouth Plantation, an account of the activities of the Puritans from to The work existed only in manuscript form for two centuries, but was widely circulated.

During the American Revolution the manuscript mysteriously disappeared, possibly stolen from the New England Library by a British soldier. Not until did scholars realize that a manuscript on Pilgrim history in the Bishop of London's library at Fulham Palace was the long-lost Bradford manuscript; it was published the following year.

Although Of Plymouth Plantation presents a year-by-year narration of events, it is not a diary or journal but a retrospective in two books. The first book, written mostly in , focuses on the journey of the Pilgrims from England to Amsterdam, then to Leyden, and finally to North America, concluding with the founding of the Plymouth settlement. This first book is composed as a providential history, stressing the spiritual importance of the Separatists' struggles to reach America.

Bradford did not begin the second book until , drawing from earlier notes and letters to relate the story of the Pilgrims in North America. The second book, possessing a less coherent narrative structure, is annalistic and more concerned than the first book with prosaic details of life in the colony. It also reflects Bradford's growing anxiety about the spiritual welfare of the colonists and his increasing uncertainty regarding the workings of providence.

Beginning in Bradford wrote a number of didactic works aimed at the younger generation. Even before its publication in , Of Plymouth Plantation was an important resource for early American historians, including Increase Mather, who used the manuscript for his account of the Indian wars, and his son, Cotton Mather, who used it for his own history of the Plymouth colony. Following its publication, the history was widely admired, in part because of its demonstration of Bradford's sincerity and strength of character, traits which were regarded as quintessentially American.

Modern criticism on Of Plymouth Plantation has tended to fall into two broad categories, either focusing on Bradford as historian or as a prose stylist.

Scholars have taken a number of different approaches in their analyses of Bradford's historiography.


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Works by William Bradford at LibriVox (public domain audiobooks) Topics – William Bradford; Bradford's History at the Pilgrim Hall Museum; Full Text Bradford's book Of Plymouth Plantation (provided by Internet Archive) "Writings of William Bradford" from C-SPAN's American Writers: A Journey Through History.

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William Bradford - The complete works, large resolution images, ecard, rating, slideshow and more! One of the largest William Bradford resource on the web!

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William Bradford was one of the founders of Plymouth Colony in Learn about his involvement with the Mayflower Compact, the first Thanksgiving, his writings, and his role as governor of. William Bradford () was a founder and longtime governor of the Plymouth Colony settlement. Born in England, he migrated with the Separatist congregation to the Netherlands as a teenager.

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William bradford writings And that chapter does not subscribe. It is for you to balance between the rankings, the rank of assistant professor of education doctoral program. WILLIAM BRADFORD’S WRITINGS: Transcription of the Mayflower Compact. The Names of Those Which Came Over First, In the Year (an appendix to Of Plymouth Plantation) History of the Plimoth Plantation (Doyle facsimile edition).