English religious reformers who wanted to undertake a total purification English Christianity. Many came from commercially depressed woolen districts. Calvinism provided spiritual comfort. They were called Separatists (wanted to break away entirely from the Church of England because they had to associate with the "damned").
James I (1603-1625) threatened to harass the more bothersome Separatists out of England.
At first they fled to Holland in 1608, but they were repelled by the 'Dutchification' of their children.
They then negotiated with the Virginia Company to secure rights to settle under it, but the Mayflower missed its destination and arrived off the coast of New England. Fewer than half of the group were Separatists.
One of the others was Captain Myles Standish, who later was indispensable as an Indian fighter and negotiator.
They chose Plymouth Bay after a number of surveys, and become squatters as this was not within the domain of the Virginia Company.
They drew and signed the Mayflower Compact (precedent for later written constitutions)- to form a crude government and submit to the will of the majority under the regulations.
First winter, only 44 of 102 survived.
Next autumn 1621, first Thanksgiving with bountiful harvests. Prospered in fur, fish, and lumber.
Prominent leaders: William Bradford (governor 30 times)