Category: American Character

Individuals who have exhibited Biblical character qualities and have had a positive impact on American history.

American Character: John Eliot

Another early Puritan leader was John Eliot, who developed a heart for bringing the Gospel to the natives. Critics today would say he was infringing on their native religion and flexing the muscles of cultural superiority. That’s not how Eliot saw it. What he perceived was a people worshiping the creation rather than the Creator. They needed to know the One who forgives sins and brings new life. One account of Eliot’s life states: Eliot became inspired with the idea of… Read more »

American Character: John Winthrop

John Winthrop, leader of the Puritan migration to Massachusetts, and that colony’s first governor, sometimes gets a bum rap from historians. Even one of my favorite historians, Paul Johnson, considers him too severe. A good corrective on that, however, is a fairly recent biography by Francis Bremer, John Winthrop: America’s Forgotten Founding Father. Bremer shows rather conclusively, I think, that Winthrop was a man of great moderation fueled by his Christian faith. Winthrop is known, if at all, primarily for… Read more »

American Character: Edward Winslow

There probably aren’t too many Americans who know the name Edward Winslow. He was one of the Pilgrims, a trusted friend and helper for William Bradford for many years. As with Bradford, Winslow’s Christian faith led him to depart England for Holland, and then on to the New World. Winslow suffered in the same way Bradford did at first in the new colony of Plymouth. The first winter was severe, and half the company died. One of those was Winslow’s… Read more »

American Character: William Bradford

He was only in his twenties when the awesome responsibility of governing a community was thrust upon him. Then, for 35 years of the next 40, he continued to lead that community, being reelected annually. That must mean he was doing something right. His name was William Bradford, governor of the Pilgrim colony of Plymouth. He arrived on the Mayflower in 1620 along with a band of his fellow believers. In England, they were called Separatists because they didn’t want… Read more »

American Character: Pocahontas

To some, she is the stuff of legend. Perhaps that’s why Disney felt comfortable making a film that is largely fantasy. First, she was not an alluring young woman when she met Capt. John Smith; she was about ten years old. Fantasy is at work also in the image of John Smith here. Pocahontas was fascinated with these English settlers. She spent time at the fort playing with the young boys. Her father, Chief Powhatan, didn’t mind her visiting his… Read more »

American Character: Chanco

Most of you probably looked at the name in the title above and said, “Who is that?” Character is not found only among the well known; it appears in those we might call “the common man” as well. I call Chanco an example of American character even though he was not one of the early English settlers. Rather, he was a native American, one already living here when the English arrived. The backdrop: Jamestown was 15 years young in 1622…. Read more »

American Character: Capt. John Smith

I spent a few days posting on the principle of Christian character. Throughout American history, there have been individuals who have exhibited certain of those traits and, by them, have contributed greatly to our history. Some of those people may not have been Christians themselves, except in the cultural sense, but they still exemplify the qualities that are essential for a society to work. One such man was Capt. John Smith—soldier, adventurer, mapmaker of the New World. One of Smith’s… Read more »