Religious Pilgrims

            "The mythic origin of 'the country we now know as the United States' is at Plymouth Rock, and the year is 1620.” James W. Loewen stresses this origin as mythic due to the fact that for thousands of years humans had inhabited the land now known as America. Loewen goes on to describe the horrors the native peoples of America went through due to the diseases and other such terrible things the white "settlers” brought to the "New World.” However, it is barely mentioned in Loewen's book, The Lies My Teacher Told Me, that the Separatists were acting upon a word of God, or Manifest Destiny. If Manifest Destiny were taken into account more, one would be able to provide a legitimate argument in favor of the Pilgrims' intent. (Loewen, 77).

             The Separatists were members of a radical religious movement in England in the 16th and 17th centuries. William Brewster, in 1606, led a portion of this group to Leiden, the Netherlands, to avoid further religious oppression from the English government. Some members of this Separatist group then voted, ten years later, to relocate to America. In order for them to afford such a journey, the Separatists received funding from a group of London investors, in return for produce from America. A ship called the Mayflower set off on September 16th, 1620, carrying a group of 102 passengers, including these Separatists. On November 21st, the Mayflower arrived near present-day Provincetown, Massachusetts, and on December 21st of the same year, they landed on the site of the Plymouth Colony. (Encarta, "Pilgrims”) .

             The Indians native to this area were called the Patuxet tribe. However, in 1618, the Patuxet had been completely wiped out by a disease that had swept the East Coast. Within a span of three years, 90-96% of coastal New England population had been obliterated by this plague. The disease had probably started to spread in 1617, by British and French fishermen who had been fishing off the Massachusetts coast.

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