Colonial America (1492-1765)
Pilgrims Seek Religious Freedom in Plymouth

Pilgrims Seek Religious Freedom in Plymouth
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 7
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   7.18

     challenging words:    yearly, traditional, treaty, celebration, religion, fasted, non-religious, early, drought, settlement, aboard, congregation, journey, leader, religious, weekly
     content words:    Protestant Reformation, William Brewster, Fasting Day, Provincetown Harbor, Wampanoag Indians, Governor Carver, Little John, Thanksgiving Day

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Pilgrims Seek Religious Freedom in Plymouth
By Sharon Fabian

1     The time was the early 1600's. The place was England. The century before had seen the Protestant Reformation, and the Church of England was now the official church. A person could not choose to join a different church.
2     By the 1600's, some members of the Church of England felt that changes were needed. Some people tried to change the church from within; others decided to leave and start their own congregation. Those who decided to leave became known as the Separatists.
3     Because leaving the church was not allowed, the Separatists soon had to flee the country. In 1609, a group of Separatists led by William Brewster fled to Holland and settled in the town of Leiden.
4     The Separatists lived in Leiden for years, but never quite felt at home there. It wasn't like England where they had grown up. They couldn't own their own land there either. They thought about leaving Holland.
5     In 1620, they found merchants who were interested in financing a voyage to America. Forty-one members of the Leiden congregation decided to sail for America. Along with 61 other English people, they set sail in September aboard the Mayflower. Just before they left Holland, the Separatists celebrated a Fasting Day in their church to pray for God's guidance on the long journey to come.

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