Essay on Plymouth and Jamestown: Government, Power, and Survival

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The Jamestown and Plymouth settlements were both settled in the early 1600's. Plymouth and Jamestown were located along the shoreline in Massachusetts and Virginia, respectively. Although both had different forms of government, they both had strong leadership. Jamestown was controlled by the London Company, who wanted to profit from the venture, while the Puritans who settled at Plymouth were self-governed with an early form of democracy and settled in the New World to gain religious freedom. John Smith took charge in efforts to organize Jamestown, and at Plymouth William Bradford helped things run smoothly.

The settlement of Jamestown was controlled by the London Company. The London Company, for the most part, had full control of the
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The ideas in the Mayflower Compact were later transferred into the Declaration of Independence and gave footing for democracy in America.

However remarkable or pathetic the two government systems were, it is unlikely either colony would have survived without their leaders. In Plymouth, William Bradford was elected as the first governor. He also provided firm leadership, but still very few colonists complained that he was too controlling. Bradford even wrote a history of the first thirty years of the colony, which was later published in a book titled Of Plymouth Plantation. John Smith did not write a history of Jamestown but he did encourage colonists to work at tasks that were required to live instead of hunting for gold. He even became an expert at trading with the Indians to acquire much needed food.

The Puritans leaders also lead them into the proper settings to encourage their faith instead of tearing it down. At first they went to Holland in 1608, but when this turned out to be unsuitable they made preparations to leave. In 1620 they set sail for the New World to seek the religious freedom they dreamed of, but had been deprived of in England. The Jamestown colony, on the other hand, did not care about religious freedom, but only about the money that could be earned from resources in the New World. This goal can even be seen in the first charter for the
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