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On September 6, 1620, the “Mayflower” departed from Southampton Port, in England with 102 passengers on board. The pilgrims made the decision to move to the Americas after they experienced extreme poverty, persecution, and no religious freedom. So, the pilgrims rented the “mayflower” and started the “Plymouth Colony”; the first colony in the New World.
In Europe poverty was at its highest extreme, the pilgrims moved to the new world to try to escape poverty. “As we cannot but account it an extraordinary blessing of God in directing our course for these parts, after we came out of our native country, for that we had the happiness to be possessed of the comforts we receive by the benefit of one of the most pleasant, most healthful,and most fruitful parts of the world.” (R.G. 1623) In 1530, a new law was passed, the old and poor were granted licenses to beg. If, anyone were caught roaming or begging without a job were tied to a cart by the nearest market and beaten until they were bleeding. Then they were returned to the parish, the church where they were born, they were then forced to live there for the next three years. A law of 1547 stated that vagabonds could be made slaves for two years, if they were to run away they would be branded and enslaved for their lifetime. The law was abolished in 1550. With the rise in population during the 16th century jobs were becoming harder to find, so people would pretend to be disabled or mad that way they could beg. The government could tolerate the disabled begging, although they would not tolerate the healthy without jobs wandering, looking for money.
“The religious persecution that drove settlers from Europe to the British North American colonies sprang from the conviction, held by Protestants and Catholics alike, that uniformity of religion must exist in any given society.” (John, et al, Library of Congress, June 4, 1998) This conviction was built on the belief that there was one true religion and it was the duty of the government to enforce it. If anyone were to argue they would be persecuted, nonconformists should expect no mercy and could be executed as heretics. Even though Europe eschewed religious persecution in 1689, it is continued the European continent.
In Europe religion was how they kept their ruled, they made their laws from the ten commandments and what they believed God wanted them to live. “England was a Roman Catholic nation until 1534, when King Henry VIII (reigned 1509-1547) declared himself head of a new national church called the Church of England.” (Plimoth Plantation, 2003) People felt that the new Church
retained too many practices from the Roman Catholic Church. They wanted a simpler faith and less structured forms of worship, they wanted to return to the way the Christians worshiped. Because these people wanted to purify the church, they were known as the “Puritans”. There was another group called the “Separatists”, they demanded the formation of a new, separate church congregations. This was extremely dangerous; in the 1600s it was illegal to be apart of any church other than the Church of England.
In 1607 a section of the separatists from Yorkshire left England and moved to Leiden, Holland in search of religious freedom. After living in Holland for about 12 years, the sought out investors in England who would invest in their journey to the New World. After searching they made a deal with Plymouth Company who promised to finance their trip to North America. In return the colony would repay by giving fur; timber, and fish to send back to England. They rented the “Mayflower” and landed off the coast of Massachusetts on November 1620, and founded the Plymouth Colony; the first colony in the New World, which marks the Great Puritan Migration.
The pilgrims had made the decision to move to the New World because they experienced extreme poverty, persecution, and no religious freedom. After extreme delegation the Pilgrims had decided to move to the americas, to start colonization.