(March 19, 1590-May 9, 1657) was born in Yorkshire, England and was a committed member of the “Separatist” church. He and his fist wife, Dorothy May, sailed to America with the Pilgrims aboard the Mayflower to escape religious persecution.
William Bradford is credited with establishing the first Thanksgiving celebration and is dubbed the “The Father of Thanksgiving.”Main Characters:
William Bradford; John Carver; Captain Standish; Squanto and Samoset the Indians of the Wampanoag tribe; the pilgrims of the colony.Overall Theme:
Having separated from the King’s Church in England the pilgrims set out on the Mayflower in search of freedom to worship God in peace. When they land at Plymouth to establish a colony, the pilgrims are faced with harsh winter conditions, scarce food and disease. After becoming Governor, William Bradford establishes a “feast of thanksgiving” to honor God.Summary:
In 1620, John Carver, William Bradford, Captain Standish and 99 pilgrims set sail on the Mayflower toward America in search of religious freedom. As disease and storms hit they are almost forced to return. William Bradford convinces Captain Standish to press on.
Before landing, Bradford suggests everyone sign the Mayflower Contract designed to enact their own laws and elect leaders for a free government. John Carver is elected to govern for one year.
The land they choose to build on becomes known as “Plymouth”. Immediately, the winter sets in and the pilgrims face the harsh effects of the weather, hunger and disease. By the first signs of spring, half of the pilgrims have died.
Soon after arriving in the new world, the Pilgrimsdiscovered that the price for religious freedom was hunger, sicknessand death. As a peacemaker, William Bradford befriended the NativeAmericans, who taught the struggling Pilgrims how to survive. By theend of the first year, William Bradford became Governor of the newland. After their first critical harvest, he set aside time for thePilgrims and their new Native American friends to feast together and toexpress thanks to God.
Soon a lone Indian appears on the horizon. Against Captain Standish’s wishes, John Carver and William Bradford befriend Samoset of the Wampanoag tribe. Samoset sends the English-speaking Squanto and Chief Massasoit to the pilgrims who make a peace pact. Chief Massasoit offers gifts to seal the deal.
Squanto and Samoset live with the pilgrims and teach them how to live off the land. As John Carver falls ill, he makes Bradford Governor of Plymouth. After the first successful crop, Bradford proposes a “Feast of thanksgiving” to honor God and thank him for his many gifts.Background:
Religious freedom today is one of our country’s founding principles, but imagine the 1600’s when people were forced to practice the religion of their King. It’s no wonder they began to look to America for a better way of life. William Bradford was able to be with a group of “pilgrims” as they set sail to America in search of religious and governmental freedom.
Upon establishing the Plymouth colony, the pilgrims were rewarded with disease, starvation and harsh weather conditions. They did get their freedom, but paid the price to get it. William Bradford was a strong force in helping the colony succeed.
As we celebrate our own Thanksgiving feasts today, with the help of grocery stores, ovens, microwaves and dishwashers, it’s hard to imagine how different the life of the pilgrims had been. William Bradford symbolizes a time of struggle, oppression and heroism as he helped the Plymouth colony survive.
BONUS Resource & Activity Books
Eachinteractive DVD includes a 48-page Resource & Activity Book full ofskill-developing activities, word games, puzzles, coloring pages, andmore! Provides hours of fun and learning for the entire family! Thespecial “Certificate of Achievement” located in the back of the bookserves as an excellent award your child can display after completingthe activities.
Principles and Values Taught in This Video
Sharing, Gratitude, Faith, and Leadership.