The Link's History Pages:
Written by Brett Mills
I was working the afternoon watch in the Colonial America division when two young people needed to see me. The pair came into my office and introduced themselves as Sarah and her friend Josh. Sarah and Josh told me that they were usually good friends, but a problem with American history had them mad at each other now. I knew they needed my help right away, so I asked them to tell me about their problem.
They were trying to learn about groups of people who came to settle colonies for England in America.
Sarah and Josh were okay until they came across Pilgrims and Puritans. Sarah was sure that the two groups were different from each other. Josh was just as sure that Puritan and Pilgrim were just two different names for the exact same group of American colonists.
It’s no wonder that Josh and Sarah got mixed up about these colonists. The problem was a lot more serious than the same-sounding starts to each name. Pilgrims and the Puritans both started out in England. They were colonial neighbors, settling in the same area of America during the same half of the 1600s. I shared these details with my visitors, and Josh grinned because he thought he was right after all. I said they really needed to get more facts about Pilgrims and Puritans to know for sure. Sarah and Josh wondered how they could get those facts. I was ready with that answer: ask questions to gather facts.
Josh and Sarah agreed to ask themselves questions about Pilgrims and Puritans while they studied. The answers would solve their problem, but first they had to decide what to ask. Together, the three of us worked on a good list of questions to apply to both colonial groups. Then I sent Sarah and Josh on their way. They would come back and report the answers to the questions on our list.
Sarah and Josh were back soon. They were eager to show me the answers they had collected, and reveal the decision they both agreed on now. They set the questions and sorted the answers for easy reading.
What year did they first come as a group to America?
What was their colony first called?
Who were their first colonial leaders?
How many started settling their colony?
What class did most of them belong to?
What was their leading principle of government?
What do Americans today remember most about them?
Working together, the two squabbling classmates had gathered just some of the many interesting facts about the Pilgrims and the Puritans. Luckily, they got enough of the answers they needed to end their fight. Pilgrims and Puritans were definitely two separate English colonial groups in America. Sure, they had a lot in common, but each brought different traits to the making of America. Sarah had been right all along, but now she knew why. Josh stood corrected, but now he knew better. They had both learned the knack for being time detectives. Having the historical facts is important, and only the beginning. They are the clues that lead time detectives to the truth about the past. Since Josh and Sarah nabbed the truth, this case was closed.
The history just presented is true. No names were changed because Sarah and Josh weren’t bad, they were just confused.
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