This blog is about the story of my family here in America. We arrived in the 1630s as Puritans, and became the common folk of the New World.

The difference between "Pilgrims" and "Puritans"

Although in common usage today, "Pilgrim" and "Puritan" mean the same thing, they really weren't the same. To give credit where credit is due, the Pilgrims were more "pure" than the ordinary Puritans. Both groups, of course, were interested in following the Word of God without the influence of the Catholic Church or the corruption, at the time, of the Church of England. In terms of success, the Puritans were the most successful. In terms of image, the Pilgrims, well, look better. Please let me explain.

The best way to compare Puritans to Pilgrims is to compare the Massachusetts Bay to Plymouth Rock. To this day, you can see that Boston has been more successful than Plymouth. But that is not to say that The Puritans were not pious and God-fearing. They were just, well, more business-like.

John Winthrop - Puritan
William Bradford - Pilgrim
The Massachusetts Bay Colony was founded by John Winthrop (on the left). This is who my family followed. They were Puritans. By contrast, the Pilgrims were led by William Bradford (on the right), who founded The Plymouth Colony. William Bradford wrote "Of Plymouth Plantation", which is still in print. Those are The Pilgrims. John Winthrop wrote "The Puritan Dilemma", which is also still in print. Those are the Puritans.

The history that we all grew up learning about in school was written in the mid-1800s. And somewhere along the line it was decided that America should be founded by The Pilgrims, at Plymouth Rock. Never mind my family, who were doing quite well in Massachusetts, or for that matter many other groups who had established themselves on the American continent, including people from France or Spain.

The real history of America is not as neat and clean as it is presented in school books and on Disney movies, so I guess I can't blame them. Life was hard for these people, and they weren't just poetic ideals. If you read their books, you will see what I mean.

You can visit all of my family here.
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