Professor Crabtree Discusses Differences between Puritans, Pilgrims

Thursday, August 01, 2019
Painting of the first Thanksgiving showing pilgrims and Native Americans feasting together
Courtesy of the Library of Congress

HISTORY -- Sarah Crabtree, a historian at San Francisco State University, admits that she gets frustrated by the “slippage” between the Pilgrims and the Puritans.

“It contributes to the myth that ‘the first Thanksgiving’ and ‘religious freedom’ are part and parcel of America’s origin story,” writes Crabtree in an email. “The Puritans and their ‘City on a Hill’ explicitly rejected religious freedom and never attempted to adopt the Pilgrims’ initial, fleeting cooperation with American Indian peoples.”