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Bradford’s Voyage

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The idea of being oneself in America had shifted from believing that God had complete autonomy over everything and that people as individuals were simply carrying out the will of God, to the idea of staying true to oneself and shaping their own life. When a rude and arrogant sailor on Bradford’s voyage to the New World was getting out of hand, God, “to smite this young man with a grievous disease, of which he dyed in a desperate manner, … and it was an astonishmente to all his fellows, for they noted it to be ye just hand of God upon him” (Bradford, 1). The remaining soldiers were shocked at God’s power and even saw his killing someone an act of justice, revealing that this all-powerful being completely controls the lives of individuals. After seeing the death of the arrogant sailor, it set an example of how the other sailors must act in order to stay within God’s grace. From a fearful group of Puritans who never strayed from God’s word, came more independent thinkers such as Franklin and Emerson. Franklin admitted not enjoying public assemblies and “despaired of ever meeting with them…” (Franklin, 2). He even goes as far as saying that he was “disgusted” (Franklin, 2) by the meetings he had with his church. Franklins revealed that although some of the things the church enforced were good things in practice, they didn’t help become a good citizen to the nation. Franklin acknowledged, “My conduct might be blameable...”

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