Savage Beasts: The Puritan View of Indians.
Puritan society evolved from a Protestant religious and social movement rising primarily in England during the Protestant Reformation in the early 1600's. During this reformation Puritan settlers set out towards the new found land of America in hopes of attaining religious freedom from the persecution of the Church of England. Although this promising land of America was full of golden opportunity, the Puritans were bound for hardships such as sickness and death, not to mention having to encounter the savages already inhabiting this land. Puritans viewed these people as wild animals and disagreed with their way of life.
When the Puritans set out for their new freedom, they were very skeptical about the land they were traveling to. Even though it was a great environment to begin their new lives and full of resources, the Puritans were doubtful of how they would survive. According to William Bradford, America was "devoid of all civil in habitants," and only brutish beasts existed there (168). The Puritans feared the sickness and disease that came with adjusting to a new place, but feared even more what would become of them should they survive those things. They worried and felt that the Native Americans, who in Bradford's opinion were, "cruel, barbarous and most treacherous," would always threaten them (169). He along with others thought that they were "furious in their rage and merciless where they overcome; not being content only to kill and take way life, but delighted to torment men in the most bloody manner that may be; flaying some alive with the shells of fishes, cutting off the members and joints of others by piecemeal and broiling on the coals, and eating the collops of their flesh in their sight whilst they live" (Bradford 169). Such inhumane acts were so very different from the way of the Puritans. Puritans believed in humanity and goodness.