John Smith and William Bradford

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Harry Truman once said, "Men make history and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better." This quote relates to the leadership styles of Captain John Smith and Governor William Bradford, two influential leaders in the New World during the early 1600s. Smith’s relations with the Natives were hostile, and his effectiveness originated as a result of enforcing strict rules and imposing fear on his people. On the other hand, Bradford developed a foundation of trust with his people, and, as a result, Plymouth suffered fewer hardships. Both Smith and Bradford demonstrated profound qualities of a leader, but, in the long run, the actions of Bradford led his people to prosperity, even for years to come. Captain John Smith took control of Jamestown in 1608. During his brief tenure, he wrote about and surveyed Virginia. As he tells it, he focused on survival - safety, shelter, and food. Leading forcefully, he pushed settlers of all social levels to work as hard as he did. However, history tells us a slightly different story: Smith was nearly executed for the deaths of two colonists on an expedition he led. If John Smith had already accounted false information, who knows what else he had lied about? Smith’s dishonesty besmirched the credibility of his writings. An effective leader is one that teaches the people how to successfully lead themselves, even when their leader is away. Obviously, John Smith did not accomplish this, therefore having his colony plummet into complete bedlam under his absence. William Bradford possessed superb leaderships skills and proved to be far more effective in driving his colony to success, compared to John Smith. During the Puritans’ long, difficult journey to North America, disagreements broke out

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