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Forum Post: The Real First Thanksgiving

Posted 2 years ago on Nov. 21, 2012, 12:37 p.m. EST by SingleVoice (158)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

I found this essay online and thought there were people here who should read this. We can all work together and should but we should never be forced to give up any of our freedom in favor of collectivism.

The Real Story of Thanksgiving By JB on November 23, 2011

Every year around this time, most schoolchildren hear the same ol’ Thanksgiving story in their classrooms across the nation. That so-called official story is a heartwarming tale of how the Pilgrims and Native Americans shared a bountiful feast together. But it does not tell the full truth about what really happened on the Plymouth Plantation.

We’re told that the Pilgrims struggled for their survival when they landed in present-day Massachusetts in the 1620’s. Half of the Pilgrims starved to death or went back to England during the first year alone because of harsh winter weather and their lack of proper farming skills. Their chronic food shortages were ultimately resolved when the Native Americans taught the Pilgrims how to plant corn the following spring and together they celebrated their blessings with a huge feast.

That "official" story is nothing like what actually happened. For evidence of the failures of communism, we do not need to look to disastrous experiments in foreign lands. The Plymouth Plantation, one of the first English colonial ventures in North America, is actually one of the most evident examples of the failures of collectivism.

Centuries before the Communist Manifesto was even published, the Pilgrims set up an economic system that looked similar to the “utopia” advocated by Karl Marx. In the early years of the Plymouth Plantation, there was no such thing as private property. All property was held in common and it was forbidden for anyone to produce their own food. It was up to the plantation officials to distribute food and supplies to the Pilgrims based on equality and need.

The Plantation leaders showed their immense lack of knowledge regarding basic economic principles. Plymouth County Governor William Bradford wrote that, “the taking away of property, and bringing in community into a common wealth, would make them happy and flourishing.” That clearly was not the case since the Pilgrims experienced great despair and massive food shortages for several years.

The Plymouth Plantation lacked the appropriate incentive structure. As economics Professor Benjamin Powell writes, “bad weather or lack of farming knowledge did not cause the pilgrims’ shortages. Bad economic incentives did.” Many Pilgrims faked illness or stole instead of working in the fields to produce food. William Bradford later wrote that the colony was filled with "corruption," and with "confusion and discontent." He stated that the crops were so small because “much was stolen both by night and day, before it became scarce eatable."

William Bradford finally decided to change course by implementing a new economic system in 1623. He assigned “every family a parcel of land” to do with it as they saw fit and the results were nothing short of miraculous. For the first time in the New World, families could enjoy the fruits of their labor. While it was not a complete private property system, the move away from collectivism saved the Pilgrims. As Governor William Bradford wrote that year, "instead of famine now God gave them plenty.”

Never again did the Pilgrims face widespread starvation and food shortages. Governor William Bradford wrote that this more capitalist system "had very good success for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been. By this time harvest was come…the face of things was changed, to the rejoicing of the hearts of many." The colonists actually produced so much food in 1623 that they starting exporting corn. The Pilgrims were able to celebrate all of their blessings with plentiful feasts.

The real story of Thanksgiving shows why freedom works and collectivism doesn’t. Let us not forget the lessons of colonial America: collectivism will always fail to produce a happy and prosperous society.

29 Comments

29 Comments


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[-] 3 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 2 years ago

This isn't the story of Thanksgiving, it's capitalist propaganda. The author completely missed the fact that the Indians living in the same harsh conditions, somehow managed to survive and prosper without capitalism.

[-] 0 points by BetsyRoss (-744) 1 year ago

Weird...the Huffington Post is now printing "capitalist propaganda:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ben-powell/thanksgiving-and-the-pilg_b_2172526.html?utm_hp_ref=politics

[-] 2 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 1 year ago

This "news" story is 8 years old.

Blaming the communal failure of the Pilgrims because of their selfishness while ignoring the communal success of the Indians because of their selflessness shows a complete lack of impartiality.

http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=1423

From Wikipedia, "The Independent Institute is an American conservative libertarian think tank based in Oakland, California, whose mission is "to boldly advance peaceful, prosperous, and free societies, grounded in a commitment to human worth and dignity." Founded in 1986 by David J. Theroux.

[-] -1 points by BetsyRoss (-744) 1 year ago

Well the HuffyPo decided to print it 11/21/2012 5:30 pm

No impartiality at all. White man clearly aren't capable of communal living.

Are you opposed to "boldly advancing peaceful, prosperous and free societies grounded in a commitment to human worth and dignity"?

[-] 1 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 1 year ago

"The Pilgrims’ Real Thanksgiving Lesson By Benjamin Powell | Posted: Thu. November 25, 2004 Also published in Charlotte Observer, and The San Diego Union-Tribune

"White man clearly aren't capable of communal living."

The Israeli settlers in the early 1900's also prospered in the communal economy of the kibbutzim.

"Are you opposed to "boldly advancing peaceful, prosperous and free societies grounded in a commitment to human worth and dignity"?

It depends on the people who are behind the societies.

[-] -1 points by BetsyRoss (-744) 1 year ago

I KNOW when Powell's article was first written. The Huffpo printed it two days ago.

"In 1989, the kibbutz population peaked at 129,000"

Yep huge success.

"It depends on the people who are behind the societies."

Do you even bother to get to know the actual people behind anything? Or do you just believe what you want to according to the labels either you or someone else gives to them?

[-] 1 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 1 year ago

The kibbutzim's decades of communal success didn't depend on the number of members but on their level of selflessness. Remarkable considering some didn't even own the clothes on their back.

Because I'm attacking the clear and unfair bias against the merits of a communal economy in this story doesn't mean I favor communism or socialism. I'm against the bias, not capitalism. Propaganda often masquerades as truth. When inspected from every angle, and every point in time, if a flaw is found it should be thrown out.

[-] 1 points by Builder (4202) 1 year ago

They print the news.

You think they should be biased, Betsy?

[-] 0 points by BetsyRoss (-744) 1 year ago

Even PBS.org admits that the Huffpo is QUOTE "known for its liberal commentary."

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/media/jan-june11/aolhuffington_02-07.html

Edited to post correct link

[-] 1 points by Builder (4202) 1 year ago

{quote}We know that polls are just a collection of statistics that reflect what people are thinking in reality. And reality has a well-known liberal bias .{unquote}

[-] 0 points by BetsyRoss (-744) 1 year ago

And quoting Stephen Colbert's comedy supports your argument how?

[-] 1 points by Builder (4202) 1 year ago

It's a news and info site, and your assumption that they won't post anything that might support the right wing of politics is what is biased, betsy.

[-] 0 points by BetsyRoss (-744) 1 year ago

I'm not the one who called the article capitalist propaganda. :-)

The Huffpo is KNOWN for it's liberal commentary....not it's unbiased commentary. :-)

[-] 1 points by Builder (4202) 1 year ago

This is from early in 2011, Betsy.

Progressive fans of the Huffington Post aren’t too happy about the site being acquired by America On-Line. Now, they may have another reason to lament the purchase.

A source close to AOL CEO Tim Armstrong, a former Google executive hired in 2009, told Business Insider that while he “calls himself a libertarian,” Armstrong is in fact “one of the most conservative people around.”

Armstrong’s personal politics were largely unclear due to a lack of public statements. He could not be reached for comment on this story and a message left with AOL’s corporate relations department went unreturned at time of this story’s publication.

An informal survey of 500 Huffington Post commenters conducted by The Daily Beast found that 81 percent opposed the acquisition while only 19 percent expressed some optimism about it.

“We made HuffPost and we are being abandoned,” one commenter wrote. “They will aim for the center. That’s where the big money is.”

Arianna Huffington, The Huffington Post’s co-founder and editor-in-chief, has been trying to downplay the importance of partisan politics after the announcement.

Raw Story (http://s.tt/1dd4m)

[-] 0 points by BetsyRoss (-744) 1 year ago

How DARE the Huffypost aim for center and unbiased-ness! Partisan politics are important!!!

LOL

[-] 1 points by Builder (4202) 1 year ago

Things are not always as they seem.

The Nevada indians' answer to global warming turns out to be funded by Barclays banksters. Haven't had a response to that one either.

The octopus has arms everywhere, even in sacred cows like the huff.

[-] 0 points by BetsyRoss (-744) 1 year ago

Go smoke something organic until the octopus turns into something fuzzy and sparkly.

[-] 1 points by Builder (4202) 1 year ago

Cold beer maybe. I don't smoke.

[-] 0 points by richardkentgates (3269) from Fort Walton Beach, FL 1 year ago

Sure, running a major news outlet for your opposition without them knowing, no importance. :D

[-] 1 points by Builder (4202) 1 year ago

Betsy reliably runs for cover when exposed, Richard.

Must be the skanky old underwear. ;-)

[-] 0 points by RedDragon (-161) 1 year ago

They didn't prosper; the Native American of the northeast fasted for ten days every year in January. Their bodies were more capable of storing energy; the European after four days would be delirious. And this was in times of plenty; if their stores of corn failed, they starved.

[-] 1 points by Coyote88 (-24) 1 year ago

Don't bother. Facts don't interest some...

[-] 1 points by RedDragon (-161) 1 year ago

Well, they'll always interest me. I find history very interesting.

[-] 1 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 1 year ago

What does fasting or being able to store more energy have to do with a communal economy? The Indians covered the entire North and South American continents. Obviously they were successful without capitalism.

Fasting for four days does not make a person delirious. Where are you pulling these arguments from?

[-] 1 points by RedDragon (-161) 1 year ago

The American colonial consumed up to four times what we typically do today; in short, they were high energy and they required tremendous fuel. They were also much more muscular - calves up to 24" were recorded; I had one ancestor who was reputed to be so strong he hunted deer with his bare hands and then carried the 200 pounders home on his shoulders. They DID go delirious after four days - this is also recorded.

Just look, for example, at what Miles Standish and his little outfit consumed on their first recon - it's like fifty nine lobster, dozens of clams, five turkeys - it's just ridiculous.

While the Native American did inhabit and populate coast to coast - some estimates are as high as 60 million - they did not prosper. Their existence was rather precarious at all times. And starvation in winter, even in this world of abundance, was not uncommon because they were territorially confined to the extent their politics would allow. Put this another way, they were territorial and resources were seriously governed between tribes. Also in winter snows in New England can be very deep; nothing moves in deep snow, not even wildlife. The deer herd up in hidden protected quarters; if they should happen to herd in a territory other than one's own... you get the picture.

[-] 0 points by BetsyRoss (-744) 1 year ago

"The Indians covered the entire North and South American continents. Obviously they were successful without capitalism."

Estimates of the original population of Native Americans living in the area known now as the US prior to Columbus's arrival in 1492, range from between 2 million-18 million. That doesn't depict "covering" North America when compared with today there are 311 million people living here today.

According to historic data, smallpox had killed off nearly 90% of the native indian population in the Massachusetts Bay area between 1618 and 1619. They didn't need capitalism....they needed immunities they didn't have.

[-] 1 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 1 year ago

Disease or population has nothing to do with the success of the Indians communal system. Maybe the Pilgrims real problem was their theft and selfishness, not their economic system.

[-] 1 points by RedDragon (-161) 1 year ago

I would also add... that to the best of my knowledge, there are only two original "Thanksgiving Proclamations" that are known to exist.

[-] 1 points by RedDragon (-161) 1 year ago

What many do not realize is that the English village was actually a rather diverse community as people of various locations of the British Isles converged on the New World "plantation." Medieval serfdom had created peoples in isolation; often even neighboring cities spoke different dialects, and in some cases the difference was so profound as to make one virtually unintelligible to the other. All one has to do is examine the phonology of places such as Gloucester, Massachusetts, West Virginia, or even the New York Adirondacks to realize this profound difference; it is distinct even after 300 years of continuous exchange. As diverse, they were also possessed of a somewhat varied economic logic - some were more pastoral and trade oriented than others.

What I find interesting also is that this is not just an experiment in communism but also an experiment in anarchy as it was deemed in several early settlements, by compact prior to even landing, that in the new settlement, none would place themselves "one above the other." The mission was to communing, ego was to be humbled, and in its class leveling only community status would eventually rise to serve the place of more formal distinction.

Status is an interesting subject in colonial America. How status is derived is the primary difference, for example, between Native American and New World colonial.

Be that as it may, the Left would like to paint our colonization as a corporate effort and while this is true of the southern islands, and South America, it is only true here of early Virginia; in MA Bay the corporate enterprise only extended as far as the issuance of a charter as the license to possess and inhabit at the King's pleasure. While we do see the licensing of some sole proprietorships - the tavern, for example - and even some joint business ventures as a means of collective capital we do not see any corporations in America until after Hamilton's Bank of the US. And even then they are of different form - there was no charter required of the Crown, or newly formed Federal government, as its replacement.