The Untold Story of the First Thanksgivings

The public school system eschews teaching our children the first Thanksgivings were an abject failure in socialism, and forsakes teaching our children that Thanksgiving is a religious holiday.  The true story of the first Thanksgivings is one of failure, suffering and misery in Plymouth Colony.  The Pilgrims left Europe on a journey in search of religious freedom.  In December 1620, the Pilgrims landed at the settlement known as Plymouth Rock.

The Pilgrims were Christian people committed to God, family, and community. They suffered through the first year with half of them dying from sickness, starvation, or exposure.  In 1621, the first Thanksgiving was a three day feast with nearly the entire bounty supplied by the Indians. The following year proved to be difficult as the Pilgrims failed to produce enough food to adequately feed everyone in the colony.  The reason for the failure; the Pilgrims practiced socialism.

The first two years they grew food in common areas and practiced communal agriculture.  That is everyone in the colony was assigned a plot of land to work or a specific task such as hunting or fishing.  All food grown in the fields or meat and fish obtained through hunting and fishing were put into common storage.  Each person in the colony was entitled to take what they needed from the communal storage area regardless of their contribution.

William Bradford, governor of Plymouth Colony, recorded these events in his journal, Of Plymouth Plantation:

All profits and benefits that are got by trade, working, fishing, or any other means of any person or persons, remaine still in the commone stock until the division… That all such persons as are of this colonie, are to have their meate, drink, apparel, and all the provisions out of the common stock and goods of the said collonie. 

For this comunitie was found to be much confusion and discontent, and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort.  For the yong-men that were most able and fitte for labour and servise did repine that they should spend their time and streingth to worke for other mens wives and children, with out any recompence. 

After two years of insufficient harvests, Bradford and others reconsidered the socialist system practiced within Plymouth Colony. They Governor and his advisors implemented a plan where each colonist had their own land and was responsible for working the land.  Most importantly, every family kept what they produced for themselves. Bradford wrote in his journal:

So they begane to thinke how they might rasie as much torne (corn) as they could, and obtaine a beter crope then they had done, that they might not still languish in miserie… And so assigned to every family a parcell of land, according to the proportion of their number for that end, only for present use and ranged all boys and youth under some familie.  This had very good success; for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more torne was planted then other waise would have bene by any means the Govr or any other could use, and saved him a great deall of trouble, and gave farr better contente.  The women now wente willingly into the feild, and tooke their little-ons with them to set torne, which before would aledg weaknes, and inabilitie; whom to have compelled would have bene thought great tiranie and oppression.

By this time harvest was come, and in stead of famine, now God gave them plenty, and the face of things was changed, to the rejoysing of the harts of many, for which they blessed God.  And the effect of their particular planting was well scene, for all had, one way and other, pretty well to bring the year aboute, and some of the abler sorte and more industrious had to spare and sell to others,  so as any general want or famine hath not been amongst them since to this day. 

The moral of the story is the most virtuous, righteous people once constrained by the edicts of socialism could not work in a collective manner for the good of all.  Plymouth Colony prospered and flourished once they disposed of socialism and implemented a free-market solution.  Juxtapose the lessons they learned onto our society today.  With 300 million people in this country, how could anyone ever expect socialism to succeed?

Lastly, our sixteenth President, Abraham Lincoln officially declared:

The last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficient Father who dwelleth in the Heavens”.

Hopefully, this Thanksgiving parents will teach their children about the abject suffering and misery endured by the Pilgrims as a result of socialism, that free-market solutions without government regulation and coercion provides the utmost economic liberty and opportunity, and that Thanksgiving is a government established religious holiday.

Hat Tip:  The Alabama Policy Institute article by Gary Palmer.



Filed under Economy, Philosophical

2 responses to “The Untold Story of the First Thanksgivings

  1. Thank you and Gary Palmer for a wonderful argument against socialism. It has inspired me to write my next column in the Purcellville Gazette on this topic.

  2. Annette

    “With 300 million people in this country, how could anyone ever expect socialism to succeed?” Indeed!

    Experience taught the Plymouth Colony that communism doesn’t work even at the smallest level in a community. It only works when employed within a family/household. Today, idealistic protestors embrace socialism/communism as the perfectly “fair” system to replace evil capitalism simply because they haven’t experienced it, or bothered to think through its consequences. Imagine trying to corral and organize 300+ million people into communes and work camps to produce food and clothing to be fairly shared by all! If those protestors ever do get to experience what Karl Marx meant by “From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs” then I’ll bet they will start whining about how unfair it all is.

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