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Ideals Of A Society? Essay, Research Paper

The attitudes and beliefs of a peculiar clip period are reflected in first manus

paperss, intentionally and unwittingly through the prejudices and ideals of the writers of the

pieces. The chesty self-seeking attitude of the first settlement is reflected in Captain John

Smith? s, ? The General History of Virginia. ? The Puritans pietistic ideals are

reflected in the essay by William Bradford, ? Of Plymouth Plantation. ? Finally the fright of

the unknown by the settlers is shown in Cotton Mather? s contemplation on the Salem Witch

Tests, ? The Wonders of the Invisible world. ? In all of the paperss, the prejudices and

believes of the writers show the attitudes of the people at the clip.

Captain John Smith epitomizes the self-seeking attitude of the first settlement in his

essay, ? The General History of Virginia. ? Smith is non interested in what people in his

clip think of his authorship. His work is written so future coevalss will see Captain John

Smith ( he refers to himself in 3rd individual ) as a hero. Harmonizing to Smith it was wholly

his making that the settlement was established. He says, ? The New President and Martin, being

small beloved, of weak judgement in dangers, and less industry in peace, committed the

managing of all things abroad to Captain Smith & # 8230 ; , ? significance that the President is weak and

inferior to himself, and goes on to state, ? & # 8230 ; who by his ain illustration, good words, and carnival

promises & # 8230 ; himself ever bearing the greatest undertaking for his ain portion & # 8230 ; ? Feeling that he

was responsible for the endurance of the settlement, Smith shows his attitude of self publicity.

This was the belief of many people of the clip who wanted to be remembered. Smith

does non take all the recognition for his work. He believes that God is assisting him. The Indians

did non assist Smith by their ain agreement, ? But all-powerful God ( by his Godhead Providence ) had

mollified the Black Marias of those austere savages. ? ( Smith ) Again his feeling of high quality shows

when, he believes the Indians are non human plenty to move with out the aid of God.

Smith believes that God is entirely on his side.

The Puritans, who believed God had chosen them to be the 1s who get to come in

Eden, besides believed they were above everyone else. In William Bradford? s essay, ? Of

Plymouth Plantation, ? he exemplifies the belief that the Puritan settlement as a complete entity

( instead than Smith who promoted merely himself ) is superior. In their ain

self-righteousness, the Puritans felt that non-Purit

autonomic nervous systems, ? did non merit aid at their

custodies, ? but gave it to turn out themselves better than others. Rather than making workss that

would advance them in their ain life clip, the Puritans worked for the hereafter. They all

believed that since God take them, all that they had to make to acquire into Eden was to populate

pure lives. Bradford is non as hostile towards the Indians-he does non mention to them as

savages-as Smith, but as with Smith, Bradford believes that the Indians were? particular

instrument [ s ] sent of God for their good & # 8230 ; ? The Puritan people were bias towards all

non-Puritans, non needfully on intent, but more unwittingly by their spiritual


The Puritans besides held a fright of the unknown. They believed that the Satan was a

physical being who lived in the wood. He cohorts were enchantresss who did his immorality command.

Anything unusual that happened in the community was attributed to witchcraft. ? The

Wonders of the Invisible World, ? by Cotton Mather shows the test of one such enchantress by

the name of Martha Carrier. The claims of the people in the test seem to be grossly

exaggerated as to do a stronger instance against Cather. Claims such as, ? several gallons of

corruptness, ? running from a lesion and, ? he could thrust a knitwork acerate leaf into his lesion

four inches deep, ? show the hyperbole used to convict suspected enchantresss. The victims

( those accused of witchery ) were by and large those who, such as Martha Cather, were non

upstanding members of the Puritan community. Mather sums up the Puritan intolerance

for members of the community who are non upstanding in his memoranda, ? This

rampant had, Martha bearer, was the individual of whom the confessions of the enchantresss and

of her ain kids among the remainder agreed that the Satan had promised her she should be

queen of Hell. ? Anything that was non understood was attributed to witchcraft during the

early old ages of America in the Puritan settlements. This showed the fright and deficiency of

apprehension of the universe the Puritans had.

Primary paperss give first-class penetration into the life styles of the period in which

they are written. The prejudices expressed by the writers show the feelings of the clip.

Different people of the same clip portion different believes ( i.e. the Puritans compared to

John Smith ) . Much can be gained through the survey of primary paperss of a clip

period ; the alone nature of primary beginning stuff is a brilliant manner to acquire a true feel for

the people of a certain clip period.

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