Of Plymouth Plantation, 1620-1647 Book 2, Chapters 7-9 Analysis
With Weston now basically out of the photo, Allerton emerges as a new “villain” (130 ). Unlike Weston, nevertheless, Allerton is a Pilgrim himself, and a respected member of the neighborhood. The fact that he consistently disregards guidelines in order to pursue his own profit reveals some of the social and philosophical stress within Plymouth. Allerton’s decision to establish his own line of business might appear like the sort of industriousness the Pilgrims exhibit, but it weakens his legitimacy as a representative of the group as a whole and challenges the stability of a society that values cooperation and uniformity.
His actions likewise threaten to cut into Plymouth’s revenues by opening up a new source of competition; “free-trade” (121) for the Pilgrims does not indicate flexibility for everybody to trade, but rather the ability for the Pilgrims to trade easily in the locations they establish. Competitors or not, Plymouth is clearly becoming a major financial power in the area by this point. In this section, the Pilgrims not just strike up a trading relationship with the Dutch, however trade so thoroughly with the regional Native American people that they really produce a need for items that the tribes had actually formerly done without– most notably, wampum and guns.
The Pilgrims are not pleased with the need for the latter, which is an early indication that their view of the Native Americans goes beyond easy xenophobia to approach something like contemporary imperialism. By the 1600s, Europe had been trading with other regions of the world for centuries, and while they might see other peoples with suspicion, the trade itself occurred on primarily even footing. Now, however, European traders have a clear technological advantage over everybody else, and the Pilgrims a minimum of do not mean to give that advantage up.
Although the people discussed in Of Plymouth Plantation do handle to get hold of guns and ammunition, this space in innovation would ultimately allow European colonists to “trade”( 129) on extremely unequal terms, taking whatever resources they wanted and providing extremely little bit in exchange. On a more favorable note, Bradford’s response to the deaths of early 1625 make it clear that the Pilgrims had a hand in developing democracy and egalitarianism as suitables in American culture.
Since they are concerned mostly with an individual’s spiritual state, the Pilgrims are fairly unconcerned with distinctions of status and rank; Bradford illustrates royalty, for example, as a kind of worldly convention that eventually falls away with death. Perhaps, the Pilgrims’ actions do not always reflect this belief in the spiritual equality of all people, but the belief itself was a relatively revolutionary one at a time when absolute monarchy and extreme social stratification were commonplace in Western societies.