Contribution to Early America: Settlers, Natives, and Writing History

What was it like to go on an adventure and explore a new place? People who first came to America got to find out for themselves. Many people in England heard about the New World. No one else lived there, it was a wild place and it was full of wild Indians. English settlers didn’t know anything about the New World. There were no pictures and they only knew what other people told them. Even still, people came anyway. Some English settlers were looking for adventure. They wanted a new beginning and a new way of life. Many settlers were able to find this when they came to America. In England they had no opportunities. When settlers came to America, they became important people and created history. After reading the writings from Colonial America, early settlers of America came here and found opportunity to become great people in history.

Captain John Smith was one of the first settlers to come to America. He came in 1607 on a ship to Virginia and helped establish Jamestown. He and his crew built houses and cleared land to try to make a living. Many people who came with him died. A year later things began to improve and found himself a leader of his colony. In the end he helped many people in his settlement survive. In this way, Captain John Smith was an adventurer which can be observed in his writing. He wrote what is called, The General History of Virginia in 1624. In this writing he addresses the poor quality of life in early America. He fought with Natives and was eventually captured by them admitting that, “everything our worth is found full of difficulties” (Smith 1624). Despite the conflict with the Natives, he has good things to say about these indigenous people and their culture. The Natives helped to save his life by giving him and the others food and teaching them about the land. “In that desperate extremity so changed the hearts of the savages, that they brought such plenty of their fruits and provisions” (Smith 1624). Furthermore, he created history and continued a friendly relationship with his Native neighbors. “He also worked well with the Indians and proved to be a good diplomat, interpreter and trader. Smith was the strong leader who would guide the colony through its early years” (Jamestown Foundation, 2012). John Smith became important to history for many reasons. However, most importantly he kept settlers and Natives from going to war and saved settlers lives. Without him many people would have died from starvation.

William Bradford is also important. A writer from Colonial America, he was part of the Mayflower and wrote very important works including the Mayflower Compact and Of the Plymouth Plantation in 1622. William Bradford is different from some of the other writers from this time because he wasn’t very adventurous. He didn’t get captured by Indians like John Smith or go on a voyage like Columbus. He was famous for being governor of the Massachusetts Colony. He was also famous for creating the first government. Before William Bradford came there were no rules, laws, or government. When he came to America, he started to do these things. In his writing, Of Plymouth Plantation Bradford discusses why he left England. This was strictly for religious reasoning as the English did not accept Puritans. Bradford also talks about the great things he heard about the New World as well as the Native people. He says bad things about the Natives although he has never met them ; saying settlers “should be in continual danger of the savage people who are cruel, barbarous, and most treacherous being most furious in their rage and merciless” (Bardford 1622). Even so, Bradford became famous because of his writings. He also becomes famous for being governor of the Colony becoming important to American history and religious freedom.

John Rolfe is also a writer. He wrote Letter of John Rolfe in 1614. John Rolfe is most famous for his marriage to Pocahontas but he is also famous for making America rich. John Rolf began the tobacco enterprise. “In 1617 tobacco exports to England totaled 20,000 pounds” (Jamestown 2012). John Rolfe is most similar to characters such as Christopher Columbus and John Smith because he was an adventurer. He came to America looking for opportunity and found a cash crop in tobacco. John Rolfe is also famous for keeping the settlers and Natives from fighting. When John Rolfe wanted to marry Pocahontas he had to get permission and wrote a letter to the governor. This was necessary because Pocahontas was not European but a Native American. In the letter he is begs the governor asking, “howbeit I freely subject myself to your grave and mature judgment, deliberation, approbation, and determination” (Rolfe, 1614). John Rolfe became famous and important to American history for many different reasons. He was the first man to marry a Native, he got rich from tobacco, and he kept Indians and settlers from fighting. This makes Rolfe was an adventurer and important to history.

It is vital that people are aware of their history. We can learn about history from reading journals, letters, and essays from the past. By reading these we can learn about the people, what they were going through, and their contribution to history. It tells us that it is good to write things down. People don’t always have to write a story. They can just write about what they see, what they have been through, and what is around them. This is what John Smith, William Bradford, and John Rolfe did. They were very different people but they all were adventurous in some way. They all came to the New World for opportunity and to make something better of themselves. Instead they ended up making history.

 

 

 Works Cited:

Bardford, W. “Of Plymouth Plantation.” Early Americas Digital Archieve. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Dec 2012. <http://mith.umd.edu//eada/html/display.php?docs=bradford_history.xml&gt;.

 “John Rolfe.” Jamestown History. Jamestown Rediscovery. Web. 9 Dec 2012. <http://apva.org/rediscovery/page.php?page_id=27&gt;.

Rolfe, J. “Letter of John Rolfe 1614.” Virtual Jamestown. Virtual Jamestown, n.d. Web. 8 Dec 2012. <http://www.virtualjamestown.org/rolfe_letter.html&gt;.

Smith, J. “The General History of Virginia by Captain John Smith.” . English Education, n.d. Web. 11 Dec 2012. <http://english.mhc.edu/jpierce/eng205/spring00/histvirg.html&gt;.

. “John Smith.” Jamestown Settlement. Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation. Web. 9 Dec 2012. <http://www.historyisfun.org/pdf/Background-Essays/John Smith 11-07.pdf>.

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About Russia Robinson

I am an independent freelance writer and free thinker. I strive to use my writing talents to benefit the greater good of society, one word, one sentence, one page at a time. Originally from Richmond, California I attended San Francisco State University receiving a BA in English Creative Writing and American Literature in 2004. After this I attended post graduate studies in 2008 at Georgia’s Kennesaw State University in Technical Writing. With an academic background in English, I have spent more than 10 years’ helping young people succeed. This can be seen in my career background in education and mental health. I am a certifiable Language Arts teacher for the state of Georgia. I also worked in social services including juvenile mental health treatment services and counseling. As a result, I understand the diversity of problems people face in their everyday lives. With words put together like so, I promote equality and a healthy society for all people regardless of individual differences. Conducting research, writing articles, essays, and blogging, I push to educate others about various issues that affect people. I also do this creatively through short stories, poems, pictures, and a novel in progress. My hobbies and interest are reading and learning. I enjoy all things art and all things nature. From camping and astronomy to photography and cooking, I enjoy sighting seeing and socializing just as much as I enjoy curling in bed with a good book or binge watching TV.
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