Professor Crabtree Discusses Puritan Myths That Should No Longer be Believed

Wednesday, July 22, 2020
Black and white lithograph of man laying on ground during Salem Witch Trials
Lithograph by Joseph Baker

HOW STUFF WORKS -- “The Pilgrims sail to America because they want to be left alone to do their own thing; if England falls into the sea, so be it," says Sarah Crabtree, a History professor at San Francisco State University and author of “Holy Nation: The Transatlantic Quaker Ministry in an Age of Revolution.” “The Puritans are intent on setting up this model utopian society and to inspire England to purity.”

Crabtree believes that the Puritans and Pilgrims distinguished themselves in their treatment of the Native Americans they encountered.

“The Pilgrims have a working relationship with Wampanoag people when they come here, but the Puritans weren’t interested in that,” says Crabtree. “The Puritans show up in 1630 and by 1636 they’re at war with Native Americans.”