The English Pilgrims were trying to “purify” the Church of England, but finally they formed their own church. They left England and went to Holland and then to America. They became “Pilgrims” because they were travelers in search of religious freedom.
In the fall of 1620 the Pilgrims crossed the Atlantic Ocean on their ship, the Mayflower. The trip was very difficult, and many people got sick. But while they were on the crowded ship, the Pilgrims agreed on a form of government for their new colony. This agreement, the Mayflower Compact, established the principles of voting and majority rule.
Finally on December 22 the travelers landed at Plymouth, Massachusetts. There was not enough food for the long, cold winter, and many settlers died. Then some friendly Indians, Samoset, Chief Massasoit, and Squanto, showed the Pilgrims how to hunt, fish and plant corn, beans, and other foods. Because of their help, the Plymouth settlers had a good harvest the next fall.
Governor William Bradford declared some special days of thanksgiving. The Pilgrims and the Indians had a three-day feast of deer, wild turkey, and fish. There were also nuts, wild fruits, cranberries, corn, beans, pumpkins, and other foods. The first Thanksgiving celebration was a great success.
President Abraham Lincoln established Thanksgiving Day as an official national holiday. Now every year on the fourth Thursday of November American families and friends gather, have a feast, and give thanks. Some traditional Thanksgiving foods are turkey, dressing, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie.
Did you know?Half the Pilgrims - men, women and children - died of disease, hunger or cold in their first winter in North America.
2. Match the phrases.
1. the Pilgrims
2. the Mayflower
3. the Mayflower Compact
4. Plymouth, Massachusetts
5. Samoset, Massasoit, and Squanto
6. William Bradford
7. deer, wild turkey, corn, beans, pumpkins, and cranberries
8. the fourth Thursday of November
9. turkey, dressing, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie
a) some friendly Indians
b) the English Puritans
c) the governor of the Plymouth settlement
d) the ship of the Pilgrims
e) the official day of the national holiday of Thanksgiving
f) the settlement of the Pilgrims
g) the Pilgrims’ agreement about government in their settlement
h) some foods at the first Thanksgiving feast
i) some traditional Thanksgiving foods today
3. Write T for true and F for false. Correct the false statements.
1. The Puritans broke away from the Church of England and formed their own church.
2. The Pilgrims were travelers in search of gold and adventure.
3. The Pilgrims came to America in the seventeenth century.
4. On the ship the Pilgrims established the government principle of separation of church and state.
5. Their first winter in Plymouth, Massachusetts, was very difficult.
6. Then the settlers had a good harvest because some friendly Indians taught them about the land.
7. Governor William Bradford declared a special day to celebrate the independence of their colony from England.
8. Now Thanksgiving is an official national feast day for Indians.
Did you know?Sarah Hale, an American writer and editor of the Ladies Magazine, for 38 years campaigned for the creation of Thanksgiving. In her time - two hundred years after the pilgrim’s arrival - Thanksgiving had been mostly forgotten. She wrote letters to each President until at last in 1863 Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a holiday.
a) another name for the sweet potato
b) juice that drips from cooking meat, or a sauce made by thickening and seasoning this juice
c) a special favor, benefit, or gift from God
d) a Thanksgiving symbol which represents a good harvest
e) a small red edible berry that grows in North America
f) a person who settles in a previously uninhabited or new area; colonist
g) any sumptuous and elaborate meal, usually for many people
h) feeling or showing appreciation for kindnesses or benefits
i) the time when ripened crops are gathered or the gathering of the crops
j) a person who takes an unusually long trip for a religious purpose
5. Listen to Kim talking about Thanksgiving Day. What does her family usually do on this holiday? What do they usually eat?
6. Read the text and explain the words in bold type.
During the Revolutionary War some of the American settlers wanted to declare the independence of the colonies from British rule. At that time the Second Continental Congress was acting as the central government of the thirteen colonies. The Congress asked Thomas Jefferson to write the Declaration of Independence.
This historic document contains several important principles of American government. It says that “all men are created equal”, all people have the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” and government can exist only with “the consent of the governed.”
Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence, and the delegates of the thirteen colonies, now new states, signed the document on July 4, 1776. The Liberty Bell in the State House in Philadelphia rang out that day.
Now Americans celebrate the Fourth of July as the birthday of the United States. Independence Day is an official national holiday. People have picnics, and there are often parades, speeches, and fireworks. American flags are everywhere.
7. Write the words from the box.
principles of government
thirteen new states
picnics, parades, speeches, and fireworks
the Declaration of Independence
the Revolutionary War
the Liberty Bell
During 1) ___________________________ some colonists wanted to declare the independence of the colonies from 2) ________________________. The Congress asked Thomas Jefferson to write 3) ___________________________________. This document contains several important 4) ________________________________. Delegates of the 5) ___________________________ signed the document on July 4, 1776, and 6)_______________________ rang out. Now the Fourth of July is American 7) ________________________. Americans celebrate with 8) ____________________.
8. Listen to Robert talking about Independence Day. How does his family celebrate this holiday?
9. Answer these questions about the two holidays – Thanksgiving and Independence Day.