Bradford Single Paragraph Essay

William Bradford was one of the most important men in colonial American history. A historian in his own right, Bradford is the embodiment of everything a good Puritan stood for: fortitude, altruism, righteous, and diligence. Bradford’s writings show how the puritan work ethic lead to success. The main belief supported by the puritans was the concept of “predestination.” This idea, first developed by John Calvin, implies that God has already chosen those who, after death, would go to heaven and endure “God’s Grace” as “saints.” This belief meant that no man, woman, or child was capable of free will; regardless of how hard they worked, they could not alter their “ultimate fate.” The only people who possessed “God’s Grace” were the “elect” individuals. The reason that not everyone possessed God’s “saving grace” was because of another of John Calvin’s theories: that all people are sinful because of the sins committed by Adam and Eve, the biblical mother and father of the human race. The puritan work ethic helped the puritans succeed because they strived to create a world that supported their moral views and rectified their original sin. By enforcing the prohibition of drunkenness, swearing, and gambling, they could create the Utopia that God had meant them to come to the Americas for. Working hard to succeed in such a aspiration would not gain a person entrance to heaven, but often the accomplishment of such work would bring a feeling of “God’s Grace” around them, securing their place in eternal Utopia. In the first part of Bradford’s text, the pilgrims endure the struggles of the long sea voyage to Plymouth Rock, “And as for the decks and upper works, they would caulk them as well as they could, and though with the working of the ship they would not long keep staunch… they committed themselves to the will of God and resolved to proceed.” The pilgrims risked their lives without fear of death because they had faith that it was God’s will for them to succeed and carry on His plan. “And now all being compact together in one ship, they put to sea again with a prosperous wind…which was some encouragement unto them; yet…many were afflicted with seasickness. And I may not omit there a special work of God’s providence.” Bradford believes that whatever struggles he endures, he has no choice and will survive them because “predestination” has intended for him to carry out the will of God. The puritans believed that people who did not follow their doctrine of morality should be “corrected,” such as Morton, who tried to take advantage of the Indians for labor after an established treaty and attempted to disobey British orders, “They sent to him a second time and bade him be better advised and more temperate in his terms, for the country could not bear the injury he did.” After several peaceful attempts, the puritans had no choice but to banish Morton as a danger to the Utopia which they came to build in His Will.

Depicting the American Character

Throughout America’s history, Americans have been defined by their fundamental characteristics; these are the quintessential elements of the American that have defined his culture and past throughout the history of the United States. Countless writers and poets have written of this character – the sprit that guided America to independence, democracy, and freedom. The qualities of simplicity and righteousness are the very fundamental values on which America was founded. These ideals are observed in the works of writers who witnessed their integral role in the American spirit and are emphasized in the writings of St. Jean De Crevecoeur, Thomas Paine, and Thomas Jefferson. These dispositions are a fundamental part of the American mindset and are manifested in the revolutionary sprit epitomized by Americans in the establishment of their own democratic government and their struggle against British oppression.

These facets of the American spirit are seen in St. Jean De Crevecoeur’sLetters from an American Farmer. Crevecoeur exhibits the characteristic of simplicity in his description of the American Society, “The rich and the poor are not so far removed from each other as they are in Europe… we are still tillers of the earth, from Nova Scotia to West Florida.” This description of the newfound American society describes the utopia that is found throughout the American way of life. Crevecoeur tells of the American class system in contrast to England’s, where a person’s financial worth defines their class, and thusly, their economic and social being. In this period of nationalism and patriotism inspired by the American Revolutionary War, Americans banded together to form a nation based not on power, greed, and imperialism, but instead on the values of democracy, independence, and justice, “If he travels through our rural districts he views not the hostile castle, and the haughty mansion, contrasted with the clay-built hut and miserable cabin, where cattle and men help to keep each other warm, and dwell in meanness, smoke, and indigence.” Crevecoeur tells of an idyllic America where people have set their differences aside for a greater good and united to accomplish a single goal to be remembered for centuries to come. Americans of these trying times are equal in their struggle for righteousness and independence. These American pioneers of freedom and independence are unique in their struggle, and united, they have achieved what Crevecoeur describes as “A pleasuring uniformity of decent competence [that] appears throughout our habitations.”

Thomas Paine’s Common Sense is the very embodiment of righteousness. Paine speaks about the purpose of America and each person’s responsibility and significance in its founding. Paine contrasts the archaic and oppressive British government with democracy and states that “The cause of America is the cause of all mankind… and circumstances have, and will, arise which are not local, but universal, and through which the principle of all lovers of mankind are affected.” Paine hyperbolizes the treatment of the Americans by to stress the essential American ideal, “… the laying of a country desolate with fire and sword, declaring war against natural rights of all mankind, and extirpating the defenders thereof from the face of the earth is the concern of every man…” Paine rouses a nationalist spirit by saying that America is, in its very essence and purpose, a sanctuary for the most fundamental rights of men. The ideal of righteousness is seen in Paine’s hyperbole of the British treatment of Americans. Paine reaches out in a “call to arms,” claiming that any person who believes in the power and rights of man should fight for the ultimate purpose. The American ideal of righteousness is evident in the way that Paine sees the injustices that he and his countrymen are subjected to and accepts his cause without doubt of speculation as the absolute truth. Paine’s views on human rights are very simple: he believes, much like Thomas Jefferson, that they are self evident, and that any offence against them is subject to immediate retribution in he the name of God and mankind itself.

The Declaration of Independence by Thomas Jefferson, though very complex unto itself, serves to demonstrate both the philosophy and the practice of the simplicity of man. Jefferson defines what he believes are the unquestionable laws of nature in their relevance to man, “We hold these truths to be self evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with inherent and inalienable rights.” Inalienable rights are not proposals or philosophies to Jefferson; they are inherent and indisputable rights as they are possessed by men at the moment they are born into the world. Jefferson believes that the American secession from Great Britain was an unavoidable consequence of their blatant disregard for the natural rights of man. With this simple and idealistic viewpoint, America progressed and built a government based on the inherent values that Jefferson.

Throughout the course of the United States’ history, from the very day the British pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock, the American spirit has been defined by and composed of two ideals: simplicity and righteousness. Observed during the earliest states of America’s founding, the pilgrims based their religion and lifestyles on the simplicity of goodness and work ethic as well as the virtues, wrath, and strict morality of God. This simplistic mindset manifested itself into the revolutionary spirit of America, as seen in the works of Thomas Paine and Thomas Jefferson. From the colonial stages to the revolution, a religious shift occurred from man’s dependence on God to God’s confidence in man. Though people believe in the same God, they now clearly saw his path for them and knew without a doubt what had to be done for the savior of mankind and all its inherent rights.