Pilgrim Mythology, Chapter 5

More from David Bercot’s “In God We Don’t Trust”:

  • Who we call Pilgrims were technically “Separatists” and did not know or use the term “Pilgrim”
  • The were headed towards Virginia because of the success of Jamestown and accidentally ended up in Mass
  • The Pilgrims/Separatists had already obtained freedom of religion/worship by escaping from England to the Netherlands, but came to the New World for better economic conditions.
  • They didn’t come to America because they believed in freedom of religion as a universal ideal, they wanted to establish a settlement where they could worship freely.  They passed a law prohibiting Quakers from living in their community and would fine/punish any of their own who attended a Quaker assembly.
  • Church and state were united from day one at Plymouth Plantation
  • They also had a double standard concerning the Natives and killed, tricked, ambushed many.  John Robinson, still back in the Netherlands upon hearing of some violence said, “How happy a thing would it have been if you had converted some before you had killed any!”
  • Myles Standish was a mercenary who once cut off a Chief’s head and posted it on a pole after first inviting him and others to a feast to “work out their differences.”
  • During the slavery controversy of mid 1800s, Daniel Webster emphasized the Plymouth colony instead of the Jamestown (southern state) as the primary founders of America.
  • Methodist Minister William Apess, who was half Indian, responded to Webster’s mythological patriotism concerning the Pilgrims:
    • “If this were done today (to white men), it would be called an insult.  And every white man would go out and act the part of a patriot to defend his country’s rights.”
    • “but when a few red children attempt to defend their rights, they are condemned as savages by those who, if possible, have indulged in wrongs more cruel than the Indians.”
    • In contrasting the spiritual weapons of Christians with what the Pilgrims relied on: “But let us again review their weapons to civilize the nations of this soil.  What were they:  rum and powder and ball, together with all the diseases such as smallpox.”
    • “although the gospel is said to be glad tidings to all people, yet we poor Indians never have found those who brought it as messengers of mercy.”

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