Thanksgiving: Overcoming Socialism
Shortly after the Pilgrims arrived, they were befriended by Squanto, an Indian who miraculously survived the disease and famine that wiped out most of his tribe several years before. Squanto taught the Pilgrims how to grow corn and other American crops, and where to find fish. The Pilgrims also used fertile fields that had previously been cleared for farming by Squanto’s Patuxet tribe.
However, in spite of Squanto’s help, the Pilgrims struggled. They barely produced enough food to feed themselves during their first two years in America. That is because they ran their settlement as a socialist commune. There was no privately owned land. Everyone worked commonly owned fields together. Everything produced was put into a common storehouse, and given out based on need.
William Bradford, the colony’s governor, explained the problem in his journal.
“Young men resented working for the benefit of other men’s wives and children without compensation. Healthy men who worked thought it unjust that they received no more food than weak men who could not. Wives resented doing household chores for other men, considering it a kind of slavery”.
To fix these problems, the Pilgrims got rid of socialism in their third year. Governor Bradford’s journal continued:
“At length, after much debate of things, the Governor (with the advice of the chiefest amongst them) gave way that they should set corn every man for his own particular, and in that regard trust to themselves; in all other things to go on in the general way as before. And so assigned to every family a parcel of land.”
“The colonists, each of whom now had to grow their own food, suddenly became very industrious, with women and children who earlier claimed weakness now going into the fields to plant corn. Three times the amount of corn was planted that year under the new system”.
After getting rid of socialism, the Pilgrims traded their surplus food for furs from the Indians, which they then traded for luxury goods from Europe and the West Indies. Only then did they live the American dream and have plenty to be thankful for.
I am having Thanksgiving Dinner with my daughter in Florida. Because several guests have different political views, my daughter put up a sign suggesting that we not discuss politics today. However, I will do my best to mention the true history of the Pilgrims who gave us this holiday.