What is the difference between Pilgrims and Puritans?

History 1301

September 3, 2004

Many People have been confused over America’s first colonies of people. The Pilgrims and Puritans have been head of many arguments in this country. Are they the same or are they different? Well the fact of the matter is, they are two different groups of people. The Pilgrims and the Puritans have many different issues that sets them apart and some similarities that can confuse people.

The Pilgrims were the first to arrive out of the two groups. The Pilgrims arrived in 1920 led by William Bradford. Pilgrims was a group of separatist from the Church of England. They first settle in Holland, but felt that too much freedom could be dangerous. Holland was very liberal and tolerant of several religions. The Pilgrims felt that their ideal community was not possible in this area. The Pilgrims soon left out on the Mayflower to America. Bradford settle upon an agreement with the passenger called the Mayflower Compact. Every man was offer political rights, no matter if rich or poor, if they agree to stay and work. They also had to abide by the laws of the colony. The Pilgrims colony was called Plymouth Plantations. Life became hard for the Pilgrims due to the fact they were not prepared for the harsh winters. The Pilgrims received help from the Squanto Indians. The Indians showed the Pilgrims how to build proper sheltering, and how to grow native foods. This soon led to what we now celebrate as Thanksgiving. The Governor Bradford and the Chief of the Indians set down and had dinner were the signed a treaty. This created a peaceful living environment for both groups.

Soon after the Pilgrims left England the Puritans followed. Now who exactly are the Puritans? Unlike the Pilgrims who just wanted to worship outside the church, the Puritans felt that they should purify the church. The Puritans were led by John Winthrop in the Great Migration. The Puritans had great influence in Parliament which had lots of members from the middle class. King James and Parliament were not on good terms. Before leading to go to America the Puritans signed the Cambridge Agreement. They agreed to embark upon the Atlantic voyage if full authority of the charter and colony would be vested in the members themselves. As with the Pilgrims the first year was very hard for the Puritans. Many settlers died and also returned to England. Puritan beliefs were very strong and strict. Puritans felt that God granted salvation to a select few. Those who were selected by God must live up to a covenant and enforce God’s law in society. Puritans were not gracious to those who had dissenting views. All who dissented were banish from the colony.

In conclusion Pilgrims and Puritan views and lifestyles were very different. Yet, both left England because of their issues with England. Even with their differences and similarities both were foundations in the colonization of America. Their movements and beliefs led to the diversity of America.