Analysis Questions

These analysis questions challenge the student’s careful viewing of “After the Mayflower." They can be used as a handout for students to fill out as each answer is revealed in the film.

Chapter One, First Thanksgiving

The first "thanks-giving" and its unique moment in history

  1. Why were the Wampanoag and the Pilgrims interested in forming an alliance in 1621?
Chapter Two, The People of the First Light

Native peoples prior to 1620; consequences of European contact

  1. What does the word Wampanoag mean?
  2. Who were the Algonquian people and where were they located?

    Map 1: Algonquian peoples and lands

  3. What was the significance of the Green Corn Festival?
  4. What was the relationship of the Wampanoag with the nearby Narragansett tribe?
  5. What contact did the Wampanoag have with Europeans prior to 1617?
  6. What is a “virgin soil” epidemic? How did they impact European-Native American relations? What would have happened throughout North America if Native Americans had not been so vulnerable to these diseases? (Students might want to consider British colonial regions in which there was no comparable loss of life from these epidemics, for example, India, South Africa.)
Chapter Three, The Pilgrims

The Mayflower lands and Massasoit’s leadership is tested

  1. What did the Pilgrims find in the Wampanoag village of Patuxet in December 1620? How did they interpret this?
  2. Why didn’t Massasoit and his people attack the Pilgrims?
  3. Describe Massasoit and his leadership style.
Chapter Four, An Alliance

Massasoit forms an alliance with the Pilgrims

  1. What happened at the first treaty encounter?
  2. How did Tisquantum help the two parties talk to each other and form an alliance?
  3. What were some of the terms of the agreement?
  4. How did Winslow treat Massasoit to win his respect?
Chapter Five, Living Together

Alliance leads to reciprocal trade

  1. Why did the developing relationship between the Wampanoag and Pilgrims make some Pilgrims uneasy?
  2. What was the effect of the preemptive raid led by Miles Standish on the Massachusetts tribe in 1623?
  3. What trade products did the English want from the Wampanoag? What did the Wampanoag have that the English needed to survive?
  4. What trade items did Native peoples want from the English?
  5. What is wampum?
Chapter Six, The Great Migration

English colonies grow at a rapid rate, depleting resources and amassing power

  1. How did the increase in European population and unsustainable trading practices, including the collapse of the beaver trade, lead to the Indians selling land?
  2. How was the Connecticut River used for trade by both Native peoples and white settlers?

    Map 2: Colonial empires in America

    Map 3: The Connecticut River and colonial settlements

  3. What was the outcome of the Pequot War? How did this affect the actions of Massasoit and other Indian groups in the area?

    Map 4: The Pequot Nation

Chapter Seven, Dispossession

King Philip's youth and Massasoit's death

  1. Why did the new generation of Plymouth leaders treat Massasoit’s son differently than their fathers had treated Massasoit? How did this treatment differ?
  2. What did Massasoit do to protect the culture of the Wampanoag people?
  3. What were the praying towns? Why did Massasoit and Philip mistrust the missionaries and their efforts?
  4. Describe an underhanded way in which the English claimed possession of Native lands.
Chapter Eight, King Philip's War

The rise of a defiant Philip

  1. Why did the English authorities summon Philip to Taunton in 1671?
  2. What were some of the causes of King Philip's War? How did the early victories of the Native peoples in this war affect the English colonists?
  3. Why were Native Americans relatively successful in the initial months of the war?
Chapter Nine, The War's End

The destruction of King Philip's War

  1. What turned the tide in favor of the English during King Philip's War?
  2. Philip's head was left on a pole at Plymouth for two decades. What did that symbolize to the English?
Comprehension Questions

These comprehension questions challenge students to make connections and understand the effects of historical circumstances on this particular chapter of history, the cause and effect relationships between historical events and social movements, and the effects of implementation of U.S. policy.

  1. What events in England caused the Puritans to embark on the largest single human migration of its kind in the 17th century?
  2. How would you describe Native economies prior to European contact? Was the concept of wealth used in Native cultures?
  3. How did sachems govern their people and how was this different from the structure of European government?
  4. By 1662, there were twice as many colonists as Native peoples in New England. Puritans had little regard for the laws and customs of sovereign Indian tribes and began vigorously to impose their own. How did this effect the tribes?
  5. Examine the relationship between Edward Winslow and Massasoit. How might this relationship have helped the survival of Plymouth Colony? (Review Chapter 4, An Alliance)
  6. What trading arrangements existed among Native peoples and Europeans? Why was control of the Connecticut River trade so important? How did trade with the Dutch and English cause conflict among the local sachems?
  7. What caused the Pequot War? Could it have been avoided? How did the outcome of events at Fort Mystic affect the Wampanoag relationship with the English settlers?
  8. What effect did Christian missionaries have on Philip’s decision to go to war against the Massachusetts colonists?
  9. Three Wampanoag accused of killing Christian Indian John Sassaman were executed in Plymouth. Why did this force Philip’s hand?
  10. Why did Deputy Governor John Easton of Rhode Island try to warn Philip against war? What was the history of Native-European relations in the Rhode Island area?
  11. Why might Philip have thought the English settlements would not band together against him? What issues united the different English settlements?
  12. What was the lost opportunity of the first Thanksgiving?
Exclusive Corporate
Funding Provided by:
Liberty Mutual Insurance
Major Funding by:
Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
Additional Funding
Provided by:
American Experience