William Bradford’s "Of Plymouth Plantation" covers the Pilgrims during their move to Holland (starting in 1607 and 1608), briefly mentions the 1620 voyage to America, then covers annual events through 1646. Bradford’s work includes not just his history of the founding of Plymouth but documents (such as letters and treaties) involving the development of the colony.
Since Bradford was the governor of the colony for many of the years covered, his role in insuring safety and providing supplies merits special attention. Even though the book is written in the third person and often downplays his own role in events, Bradford proved to be an exemplary leader. The decision to make everyone responsible for growing and providing their own food insured adequate harvests after their initial communal system failed.
While Bradford appears to be a trustworthy fellow, I think it is important to keep in mind that there was a propaganda war centered on the colonies, a battle for how history was to be recorded and business interests awarded. Into these conflicts add the potential for disagreement or physical confrontation with the Indians. Bradford provides an interesting outlook toward the natives, usually focusing on contractual obligations.
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