Why Did the Pilgrims Come to America?

Natasha Head By Natasha Head, 18th Nov 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>History

Imagine having so much faith in your god that you are willing to uproot your family and move them half-way across the world, into a new and foreign land,risking life and limb, so you can worship openly without fear of reprimand or worse.

Why America?

One of the greatest freedoms we enjoy today is the ability to worship as our personal belief system warrants. Imagine not being able to do so. Imagine having to sneak to a hidden church on Sunday morning, or having to hide your alter in a dank basement room no one knows exists. If you can picture yourself in this type of situation, then understanding why the Pilgrims came to America shouldn’t be difficult.

There were three main events which led to the pilgrimage.

In the 1600’s, England remained under the Church of Rome, where Catholicism was the practised and accepted belief. Not everyone agreed with this authority, and the Reformation began, as the decisions of the Roman church began to be questioned by the masses. One of the fundamental figures in the reformation was John Calvin, who was also responsible for the teachings and and belief system of the Pilgrims, who were Calvin Protestants. The under working of the reformation would lay the basis for the next event which would push the Pilgrims one step closer to leaving England.

Along with the reformation, came King Henry VIII decision to break entirely from the Church of Rome when the Pope refused to allow him to divorce his wife. Along with separating from Rome, the King would go on to create the Church of England. This church would continue with Catholicism as it’s basis, and once again the Protestant religion of the Pilgrims was forbidden.

The final blow came when the Pilgrims petitioned the King to allow them the freedom to worship their own religion, openly and without threat of reprimand. The petition was, of course denied.

With the change of events as depicted, the Pilgrims felt their only choice was to leave their mother country. Initially, they would find their way to Holland where religious freedom was the accepted norm. Unfortunately, they did not adapt well to the living conditions, and fearing the health of their children and families, were forced to return to England. Without hesitation, upon their return, plans were put into play to see them make their pilgrimage to the New World.

It was 1620 when the Pilgrims would manage to procure a loan which would cover the cost of their passage and supplies for their journey. After two months on brutal seas in the bitter cold of autumn, they would find their way to the coast of Cape Cod, slightly off their original target of Virginia. They would make their way further down the coast to Plymouth, where their story would forever become a part of North American history.

It was at Plymouth where they would come to the land. With winter on their heels, they immediately set to building their village, but no amount of preparation with so little time could offset the impact of winter on the eastern coast of the New World. That first season would see their numbers dwindle by 50%, but even with such brutal beginnings, they still saw fit to give thanks


American History, American Holidays, American Spirit, History Of Thanksgiving, Story Of Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving Traditions

Meet the author

author avatar Natasha Head
Born into a real estate family, Natasha has been a licensed real estate agent since 1993. She has penned many works based on her experience, and enjoys freelancing as well. She has a keen interest in arts, music and spirituality, and enjoys the opp...(more)

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author avatar joeldgreat
19th Nov 2010 (#)

I've learned something today from your article. Very nice explanation. Thanks for sharing.

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author avatar Jerry Walch
19th Nov 2010 (#)

Very informative Natasha.

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author avatar Natasha Head
19th Nov 2010 (#)

Thanks guys! Appreciate the comments :)

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author avatar James R. Coffey
20th Nov 2010 (#)

If only there was true freedom of religion in America today . . .

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author avatar Natasha Head
20th Nov 2010 (#)

Could you imagine! I already spoke of the luck I've been having with the tarot articles...I think we've got to wait for the Burning Times to really end before we'll make any headway! Good to see you Sir. Coffey!

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