Monthly Archives: March 2013

America Founded for Freedom From Religious Persecution, A Widely Held Myth

The notion that America was founded only for freedom from religious persecution is a myth. It may be true for many Pilgrims and Puritans in Massachusetts but not all of them came for religious religions. One of the reasons John Winthrop, Puritan leader, came here was his landed wealth in East Anglia was in serious decline. And then the Puritans themselves started terrible persecutions 400 years ago. Roger Williams and Anne Hutchinson fled Massachusetts for their lives. Consider other colonies. Religion was far from the mind of early Virginia colonists who came over to get rich. Jamestown was America’s first ‘Wild West town’ where greed was God! There were floating taverns on the James River, lots of brawls, and 3 men for every woman. Family values? Forget it! The Middle colonies, New York for example, were also attractive to immigrants who wanted to get rich. And don’t forget that one of the best reasons for settling the Atlantic Seaboard according to Richard Hakluyt was as a dumping ground for English convicts, vagrants and unemployed! “Freedom from religious persecution” was only one reason for colonization among 20 that he proposed in 1584 in his “Discourse on Western Planting.” I say, “Simple truths about history are lies about complex subjects.” Start digging into a simple truth about history and you will uncover depths of complexity! You can’t put history into a sound bite:http://nationalhumanitiescenter.org/pds/amerbegin/exploration/text5/hakluyt.pdf

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