Molded by grade school lessons and Hallmark commercials, we reverently refer to those brave pioneers at Plymouth as our "Pilgrim Fathers." Of course, if we actually did file a class action paternity suit, most of us couldn’t prove it. Furthermore, we really wouldn’t want to be related to them. The Pilgrims were a bunch of 17th century Jerry Falwells.
They were the loony fringe of the Puritans; compared to them, Oliver Cromwell was a liberal softie. We were taught that the Pilgrims fled religious persecution in England and Holland. In fact, they fled religious tolerance in those countries.
Pilgrims could not abide other Protestants (except the equally morbid Presbyterians); you can only imagine how they regarded Catholics. The Pilgrims wanted nothing less than a theocracy where only they had the freedom of worship. In England, however, the Anglicans seemed unwilling to persecute themselves. Holland was even more sectually depraved; it tolerated Catholics and (gasp)Jews. That was the Pilgrims’ idea of Hell.
And the Pilgrims were everyone else’s idea of obnoxious. If the Calvinist bigots wanted a theocracy, England did have a practical solution. In the most generous way of saying "good riddance," the Crown offered the Pilgrims their own colony in North America. Thousands of quiet miles from England, the fanatics would be free to bore and bully. If they survived, then God and England had a new colony. And, if they didn’t survive...well, we mustn’t think that the Crown was actually rooting for the Indians.