The Real Story of Thanksgiving
How the pilgrims stopped being communists and embraced the power of private property and markets.
I’ve heard this story before, in Rush Limbaugh’s book. It makes for a great tale, especially since in some ways we look to the pilgrims as models for how our nation should behave. But as I have never heard the story told except by people with an ideological point to prove, I’m curious as to how well it really squares with the available historical evidence.
Update: I decided to actually to the research and pretty quickly found a link to Governor William Bradford’s Diary on the website of a respected university. If anything, Bradford’s condemnation of collectivism is even stronger than Limbaugh and Stossel describe it as. But this does not mean it is resoundingly capitalist; because the end result was that the land was divided up evenly to families based on their size. Today we would call this land redistribution; during the Cold War I believe we treated the advocates of land redistribution in, say, Latin America as proto-communists to which strongman dictators were preferred. The Puritans, it appears, proved the follies of communist-style collectivism; but they remained radical egalitarians, and in fact demonstrated a real example of an oft-discussed “third way”.