In human history many events change the course of nations, not intentionally, certainly not at the exact time of action, but later, as events domino from each other into what becomes a mythological event captured in writing, art, popular music, and even the heritage of a nation. One such event, the 1620 voyage of the Mayflower, depositing English Separatists from Southampton, England to Plymouth, Massachusetts, is but a 66-day ocean voyage in fact. But as a symbol, and as a source of national pride, the Mayflower and resulting events took on an aura of almost mythological proportions within the confines of American historical development.
That being said, despite the legend and lore surrounding the Pilgrims, what was to become Thanksgiving, and the “retelling” of the colonization tale so many times it bears little resemblance to truth, there is a certain level of nostalgic importance to the Mayflower issue. This essay will concentrate first on the historical facts about the Mayflower voyage, then turn to a historiographical overview of the Mayflower as a symbol. The concentration, though, will be on the Mayflower and surrounding events as part of a larger mythos of American popular culture, focusing on the meaning of the Mayflower and why such meaning remains important, even in the 21st century.
The physical ship, Mayflower, was a rather typical merchant ship of the time, a 180-ton vessel with an estimated length of 90-110 feet and width of about 25 feet (Philbrick, 2006, 24). It was probably commissioned in the late 1500s, and used primarily as a cargo ship involved in trade between England and Europe. Some accounts have the Mayflower mastered by Christopher Jones between 1609 and 1622, often as a wine trading ship. After the voyage to the America’s in 1620, the Mayflower returned to England, where Captain Jones died in 1622, and the Mayflower dismantled for scrap in 1623 (Adkins, 2005).
The Voyage- Popular retelling of the Pilgrim’s voyage to America has the group fleeing religious intolerance in England for a more “passive and accepting” land. This has, however, beads of truth in that a group of Calvinists from the East Midlands of England did leave England — but for Holland. After a time, though, these colonists, led by William Bradford, realized that they were becoming too acculturated into Dutch society and, to ensure their own identity and perpetuate their religious beliefs, it would be necessary to find a place in which they could worship freely and yet establish an English colony. These people, known as “Pilgrims” were the English colonialists who ultimately saved enough money to hire steerage to America. Despite their charter of establishing a fishing colony (some of the trip was underwritten by wealthy English speculators who realized how profitable a fishing-village could be), these colonists found it far more profitable to trade with the local indigenous tribes for fur (beaver and otter pelts). By doing so, not only could the colony enrich itself, it allowed a strategic advantage to have a trading partner in the New World (“Who Were the Pilgrims,” 2008).
Despite several logistical setbacks, the Mayflower left Plymouth, England on September 6, 1616, with a crew and passenger list of 102 people. The intended destination was just north of the Hudson River, in Virginia. However, due to poor weather, they were forced considerably north of this destination, landing on the now-famous “Plymouth Rock,” Massachusetts. The colonials never did migrate to Virginia, where they already had permission to settle, and were forced, now in the midst of a harsh New England, to set up camp and begin a relationship with the native peoples (Adkins, 2005).
This initial relationship, however, was not as congenial as the tales of the First Thanksgiving would portray it. In fact, for most of the winter of 1620-21, many of the colonists remained on board the ship, only to suffer an outbreak of contagion, resulting in a 50% mortality rate by Spring 1621. Additionally, having literally robbed native graves for corn, the colonists continued to experience difficulties with the natives, causing numerous conflicts as the good citizens of the Mayflower looted roughly each village they encountered. Of course, religious tolerance was required by their own countrymen, but the natives were somehow exempt from the Biblical teachings — a least where owning land, sharing food an commercial enterprise (Bush, 2000).
2nd Mayflower — a second Mayflower brought a 35 person influx of colonists in 1629, many from the Leiden congregation that organized the initial voyage. This was not the same ship, though, and its travels were fraught with far less difficulty (sailing in May and reaching Plymouth in August). This second Mayflower also made the crossing in 1630, 1633, and 1634. 140 passengers attempted the crossing in 1642, but was never heard from again and assumed lost at sea (Arestrum, 2007).
The Mayflower as Symbol — Scholarly texts often warn the reader that so little has survived that there is a great deal of supposition surrounding both the voyage and the first months in the new world. Journals must be read with some degree of distance, since they are opinions of individuals, and likely slanted to portray a certain viewpoint. The subsequent rounds of colonists would, of course, be treated to accounts that may have exceeded either expectations or consequences in order to maintain the hegemony of the colony. and, regarding religious motivation — it was certainly in the best interests of the colonial leaders to prove that the idea of relocation was not only economically sound, but spiritually appropriate (Adkins, 2005).
Symbolically, the Mayflower represents many things: as earlier mentioned, the voyage has taken on the mythos of religious freedom and the desire to move to a new land for altruistic reasons. Second, it has become the symbol of the founding of a nation, even though it was neither the first colony nor the most indicative of the values of the new nation — one doubts that desecration of graves, theft of food, and slaughter of indigenous populations could be democratic values. The truth, though, is likely somewhere in between. Perhaps the colonists did not realize they were defiling the religious grounds by looting, and they clearly did not understand the native customs. and, in a roundabout manner, the colonists did relocate to America to escape religious intolerance, although the intolerance has now been proven to have been little more than neighborhood gossip and minor local inconvenience. Third, the overriding motive surrounding the voyage of the Mayflower was profit — the idea of owning land in a new place (regardless that it was already settled, but the indigenous peoples had no concept that anyone could “own” land; but more importantly, profit for the investors in the fishing operation. The banks around this part of the North Atlantic were teeming with fish, and simply needed a land base to amass, clean, and organize the fruits of large catches. The colonist agreed to work for 7 years in exchange for land, again, ironically, land that was being deeded by English nobility without, some might say, legal or moral entitlement to said land (Bush).
Another interesting juxtaposition of fact and legend is even the idea of Plymouth Rock — of a set of voyage weary patriots who, despite all odds placed before them, undertook an arduous journey that was fraught with difficulty. Once landed they were inspired by the rugged coastline, but more by the very beauty of the land that was soon to be theirs: “On Munday, they sounded ye harbor and found it fitt for shipping, and marched into ye land and found diverse cornfields and little running brooks, as they supposed, fit for situation” (William Bradford in Seeyle, 1998, 1). Nothing else is written, and it was not until 1769 when the story of the heroic ascension to the rock was established. However, even with this 1769 tradition, it was not until recent times, at least the mid 1800s, that the idea of Plymouth Rock being symbolic of a patriotic institution became part of the nation’s heroic mythology (Willison, 1953, 115). Ironically, though, modern students can probably give the credit to Alexis de Tocqueville, French writer and philosopher who began to truly venerate the “Rock” saying: “A few poor souls trod for an instant on this rock, and it has become famous, it is prized by a great nation; fragments are venerated, and tiny pieces distributed far and wide” (de Tocqueville in Seelye, 1998, 78).
The Mayflower and Popular Culture — Numerous references to the name Mayflower continue to arise within the rubric of popular culture, interestingly in both Britain and the United States. The Plymouth Argyle Football Club, for instance, call themselves “The Pilgrims;” the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton is named after the ship; even the Space Shuttle in Airplane II is called “The Mayflower.” The Mayflower II, a replica of the original, to the best of modern knowledge, was launched in 1956, and the name is aptly symbolic for a science-fiction series which has a type of ark called the Mayflower transporting thousands of colonists to a new land.
Why, though, is the name so popular and so utilized to mean change, evolution, choice, and really as an icon of a perilous journey to a new life? And what is the real story of the First Thanksgiving? In brief, the name has remained a popular icon because of the inherent nature of the story — lively persecuted group befriends new population and thrives. Now, let us simply revise the point-of-view by one cog; instead of viewing the story as a European colonist, imagine if you will, a land that supported numerous bands of hunter-gatherers who took only from the land what they needed, had deep traditions about their interaction with nature, and, just like other societies, had passive and aggressive cultures. New people arrive who do not know how to dress, to hunt, to fish, or even how to build the proper house to stay warm. So, you help them, and they give you the chance to become their slave and return to their far off country, take more corn than is appropriate, and also decide to fence in the land into these unusual squares that prevent the wildlife from roaming. In addition, every village these colonists visit seems to acquire a strange sickness — in fact, some villages completely die off, leaving the areas “ready” for new towns to be set up by these new colonists (East Texas Review, 2004).
Conclusions — When dealing with revisionism and post-revisionism of sacred topics in history, one can always run the risk of cynicism on a heightened level. Was there really a Noah’s Ark or Great Flood? Did Washington really chop down a cherry tree? Are the dimensions of Plymouth Rock important? Did the colonists actually arrive near Plymouth and come ashore near the rock?
Actually, the veracity of many events becomes immaterial when viewed in broader brush strokes — in terms of the 1620 colonials, it probably does not matter how much of their story is fact and how much embellishment for symbols serve culture, and Plymouth Rock as a symbol signifies the transformation of culture from Europe to the Americas — of changing the colonists as they passed over the rock, a rite of passage for the long dead that becomes important to the modern world when viewed through the needs of patriotism and national worth. Icon meanings serve to bind individuals together, to let them see something far larger, broader, and clearly more long lasting. If we combine this tolerance for embellishment in the appropriate context with the use of symbols in popular culture that are easily identifiable and shared, we find that the Mayflower had far more to say to the contemporary world that the simple historical facts of her voyage. Thus, if we are mindful that historical accuracy remains important, but that popular culture serves its purpose, too, then we have taken a rather large step in synergizing the Mayflower story and its original intent with what the Mayflower now represents (Seeyle, 634-41).
Adkins, R. (2005). “Mayflower: The Voyage That Changed the World.” Geographical.
Arenstam, P., et.al. (2007). Mayflower 1620: A New Look at a Pilgrim Voyage. National Geographic Books.
Bush, S. (2000). “America’s Origin Myth: Remembering Plymouth Rock.” American Library
History. 12(4): 745.
East Texas Review. (2004). “The True History of Thanksgiving.” AANativeArts.Com. Cited in:
Nickerson, W. Sears. (1997). Land Ho! A Seaman’s Story of the Mayflower. Michigan Philbrick, N. (2007). Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War. Penguin.
____., ed. (2007). The Mayflower Papers: Selected Writings of Colonial New
Seeyle, J. (1998). Memory’s Nation: The Place of Plymouth Rock. University of North
“Who Were the Pilgrims?” (2008). Plimouth Plantation. Cited in:
Willison, G. (1953). The Pilgrim Reader: The Story of the Pilgrims as Told by Themselves
and Their Contemporaries Friendly and Unfriendly. Doubleday.
See for example: Carew, M. And J. Garratt. (2004). Flight of the Mayflower. Mark Carew and Associations. “Background — Plymouth Argyle Football Club.” Cited in: http://www.pafc.co.uk?
It is not the purpose of this essay to complete revise the story of the Mayflower and its consequences, simply to posit another viewpoint. For more information on how disease, especially smallpox, “conquered” the New World, see: Crosby, a. (1972), the Columbian Exchange: Biological and Cultural Consequences of 1492; and McNeil, W. (1977). Plagues and Peoples.
Are you busy and do not have time to handle your assignment? Are you scared that your paper will not make the grade? Do you have responsibilities that may hinder you from turning in your assignment on time? Are you tired and can barely handle your assignment? Are your grades inconsistent?
Whichever your reason is, it is valid! You can get professional academic help from our service at affordable rates. We have a team of professional academic writers who can handle all your assignments.
Students barely have time to read. We got you! Have your literature essay or book review written without having the hassle of reading the book. You can get your literature paper custom-written for you by our literature specialists.
Do you struggle with finance? No need to torture yourself if finance is not your cup of tea. You can order your finance paper from our academic writing service and get 100% original work from competent finance experts.
While psychology may be an interesting subject, you may lack sufficient time to handle your assignments. Don’t despair; by using our academic writing service, you can be assured of perfect grades. Moreover, your grades will be consistent.
Engineering is quite a demanding subject. Students face a lot of pressure and barely have enough time to do what they love to do. Our academic writing service got you covered! Our engineering specialists follow the paper instructions and ensure timely delivery of the paper.
In the nursing course, you may have difficulties with literature reviews, annotated bibliographies, critical essays, and other assignments. Our nursing assignment writers will offer you professional nursing paper help at low prices.
Truth be told, sociology papers can be quite exhausting. Our academic writing service relieves you of fatigue, pressure, and stress. You can relax and have peace of mind as our academic writers handle your sociology assignment.
We take pride in having some of the best business writers in the industry. Our business writers have a lot of experience in the field. They are reliable, and you can be assured of a high-grade paper. They are able to handle business papers of any subject, length, deadline, and difficulty!
We boast of having some of the most experienced statistics experts in the industry. Our statistics experts have diverse skills, expertise, and knowledge to handle any kind of assignment. They have access to all kinds of software to get your assignment done.
Writing a law essay may prove to be an insurmountable obstacle, especially when you need to know the peculiarities of the legislative framework. Take advantage of our top-notch law specialists and get superb grades and 100% satisfaction.
We have highlighted some of the most popular subjects we handle above. Those are just a tip of the iceberg. We deal in all academic disciplines since our writers are as diverse. They have been drawn from across all disciplines, and orders are assigned to those writers believed to be the best in the field. In a nutshell, there is no task we cannot handle; all you need to do is place your order with us. As long as your instructions are clear, just trust we shall deliver irrespective of the discipline.
Our essay writers are graduates with bachelor's, masters, Ph.D., and doctorate degrees in various subjects. The minimum requirement to be an essay writer with our essay writing service is to have a college degree. All our academic writers have a minimum of two years of academic writing. We have a stringent recruitment process to ensure that we get only the most competent essay writers in the industry. We also ensure that the writers are handsomely compensated for their value. The majority of our writers are native English speakers. As such, the fluency of language and grammar is impeccable.
There is a very low likelihood that you won’t like the paper.
Not at all. All papers are written from scratch. There is no way your tutor or instructor will realize that you did not write the paper yourself. In fact, we recommend using our assignment help services for consistent results.
We check all papers for plagiarism before we submit them. We use powerful plagiarism checking software such as SafeAssign, LopesWrite, and Turnitin. We also upload the plagiarism report so that you can review it. We understand that plagiarism is academic suicide. We would not take the risk of submitting plagiarized work and jeopardize your academic journey. Furthermore, we do not sell or use prewritten papers, and each paper is written from scratch.
You determine when you get the paper by setting the deadline when placing the order. All papers are delivered within the deadline. We are well aware that we operate in a time-sensitive industry. As such, we have laid out strategies to ensure that the client receives the paper on time and they never miss the deadline. We understand that papers that are submitted late have some points deducted. We do not want you to miss any points due to late submission. We work on beating deadlines by huge margins in order to ensure that you have ample time to review the paper before you submit it.
We have a privacy and confidentiality policy that guides our work. We NEVER share any customer information with third parties. Noone will ever know that you used our assignment help services. It’s only between you and us. We are bound by our policies to protect the customer’s identity and information. All your information, such as your names, phone number, email, order information, and so on, are protected. We have robust security systems that ensure that your data is protected. Hacking our systems is close to impossible, and it has never happened.
You fill all the paper instructions in the order form. Make sure you include all the helpful materials so that our academic writers can deliver the perfect paper. It will also help to eliminate unnecessary revisions.
Proceed to pay for the paper so that it can be assigned to one of our expert academic writers. The paper subject is matched with the writer’s area of specialization.
You communicate with the writer and know about the progress of the paper. The client can ask the writer for drafts of the paper. The client can upload extra material and include additional instructions from the lecturer. Receive a paper.
The paper is sent to your email and uploaded to your personal account. You also get a plagiarism report attached to your paper.
PLACE THIS ORDER OR A SIMILAR ORDER WITH US TODAY AND GET A PERFECT SCORE!!!
We provide professional writing services to help you score straight A’s by submitting custom written assignments that mirror your guidelines.
Get result-oriented writing and never worry about grades anymore. We follow the highest quality standards to make sure that you get perfect assignments.
Our writers have experience in dealing with papers of every educational level. You can surely rely on the expertise of our qualified professionals.
Your deadline is our threshold for success and we take it very seriously. We make sure you receive your papers before your predefined time.
Someone from our customer support team is always here to respond to your questions. So, hit us up if you have got any ambiguity or concern.
Sit back and relax while we help you out with writing your papers. We have an ultimate policy for keeping your personal and order-related details a secret.
We assure you that your document will be thoroughly checked for plagiarism and grammatical errors as we use highly authentic and licit sources.
Still reluctant about placing an order? Our 100% Moneyback Guarantee backs you up on rare occasions where you aren’t satisfied with the writing.
You don’t have to wait for an update for hours; you can track the progress of your order any time you want. We share the status after each step.
Although you can leverage our expertise for any writing task, we have a knack for creating flawless papers for the following document types.
Although you can leverage our expertise for any writing task, we have a knack for creating flawless papers for the following document types.
From brainstorming your paper's outline to perfecting its grammar, we perform every step carefully to make your paper worthy of A grade.
Hire your preferred writer anytime. Simply specify if you want your preferred expert to write your paper and we’ll make that happen.
Get an elaborate and authentic grammar check report with your work to have the grammar goodness sealed in your document.
You can purchase this feature if you want our writers to sum up your paper in the form of a concise and well-articulated summary.
You don’t have to worry about plagiarism anymore. Get a plagiarism report to certify the uniqueness of your work.
Join us for the best experience while seeking writing assistance in your college life. A good grade is all you need to boost up your academic excellence and we are all about it.
We create perfect papers according to the guidelines.
We seamlessly edit out errors from your papers.
We thoroughly read your final draft to identify errors.
Work with ultimate peace of mind because we ensure that your academic work is our responsibility and your grades are a top concern for us!
Dedication. Quality. Commitment. Punctuality
Here is what we have achieved so far. These numbers are evidence that we go the extra mile to make your college journey successful.
We have the most intuitive and minimalistic process so that you can easily place an order. Just follow a few steps to unlock success.
We understand your guidelines first before delivering any writing service. You can discuss your writing needs and we will have them evaluated by our dedicated team.
We write your papers in a standardized way. We complete your work in such a way that it turns out to be a perfect description of your guidelines.
We promise you excellent grades and academic excellence that you always longed for. Our writers stay in touch with you via email.