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How Students Learn: History, Mathematics, and Science in the Classroom
testimony of William Bradford and the evidence it may not have been intended to provide.
How do we know about the arrival of the Pilgrims in America? The Mayflower finds land, and the Pilgrims look for a place to settle.
One textbook tells us:
On November 11, 1620, after 10 weeks at sea, a small, storm-battered English vessel rounded the tip of Cape Cod and dropped its anchor in the quiet harbor of what is now Provincetown, Massachusetts. The people in the ship were too tired and sick to travel farther. While the Mayflower swung at anchor in Provincetown harbor, a landing party looked for a place to settle. These men explored a small bay on the western edge of Cape Cod. They found a swift-running stream with clear, fresh drinking water. The area seemed ideal for a settlement. In December, the Pilgrims anchored the Mayflower in the bay and began building Plymouth Plantation.5
Another textbook tells us:
They found a spot on the inner shore of Cape Cod Bay and promptly named it for the town from which they had sailed—Plymouth. At Plymouth the Pilgrims found abandoned cornfields. Their leader, William Bradford, sadly described their situation. “What could they see,” he wrote, “but a hideous and desolate wilderness… what could now sustain them but the spirit of God and his grace?”6
Here is a map to help you locate the places the textbook is talking about.