You will receive a private link to the YouTube recording of the Winter 2021 class
In 2020 we celebrated the 400th anniversary of the landing of the Mayflower and the arrival of the Pilgrims in the New World. History is written by the winners, so the stories you learned in school about the Mayflower, the Pilgrims, and “the First Thanksgiving” often painted a romantic and simplistic picture that overlooked the extreme hardships faced by the Pilgrims, as well as the long-term impact their arrival had on the local Algonquian-speaking native tribes. Although the passengers of the Mayflower, and those that followed them, were primarily fleeing religious persecution in the Old World, once in the New World they became the established religious order and demanded the conformity of others. Their arrival and success also spelled disaster for the local native people.
This course will focus on the reasons the Pilgrims left England, the doctrinal differences they had with the Church of England and other non-separatists Puritans, how they handled the governance of Plymouth Colony while also trying to survive in an alien wilderness, and their relations with the local tribes. The course will also cover the founding of the Massachusetts Bay Colony at Boston, with a particular emphasis on the Antinomian Controversy (a religious conflict that challenged the very foundations of the Puritan establishment), and the resulting creation of Rhode Island.
All of these events predate the American Revolution by a century and a half, and yet the issues the Pilgrims and the Puritans struggled with (free speech, free assembly, the scope of personal religious freedom, and how nonwhites were to be treated) are all issues that were addressed in the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights and that we argue over to this day.
Class Fee: $30
Instructor: Robert Gangwere is a native Kansas Citian; now living on a farm in southeast Missouri. He earned BA and MA degrees in American history from the University of Missouri–Columbia, and a law degree from UMKC. During his career with the U.S. Small Business Administration he served as the Agency’s ethics official, Deputy General Counsel, and acting General Counsel. Robert has also served as the President of the Citizens Association of Kansas City, as a member of Kansas City’s Tax Increment Financing and Historical Preservation commissions, and co-authored Kansas City: A Place in Time (2nd edition).