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My favorite columnist, John Kass, published an excellent Thanksgiving Day article. I encourage you to read it, here:


Part of his article considers the days in our Republic when people accepted each other, yet expected all to contribute. Sure, tempers could flare, things might get a little loud, but there was respect. The graphic Kass used gave me pause.

Font Art Crowd Painting Event


Among the numerous things for which I am grateful, I count the majority of posters here who, though we may at times (or frequently) disagree, treat each other with respect.

Thanks, Folks.
T​
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·

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Our knowledge of the Pilgrims comes from two primary sources. The earliest account is from Edward Winslow, whose report on the founding of the Plymouth settlement was published in London in 1622, just two years after the Pilgrims arrived in the New World.

The more detailed and authoritative account comes from the Pilgrims’ second governor, William Bradford, whose poignant and eloquent history Of Plymouth Plantation, written between 1630 and 1651, tells the story of the community from their formation in England to their exile in Holland and their eventual founding of the Plymouth Colony.

Getting there was the hard part. The small community was not wealthy. They were humble working class folks. They were pious husbands and wives with children seeking a place where they could worship in peace, not adventurers seeking treasure and conquest on behalf of a monarch.

A merchant vessel called the Mayflower was charted for them, but the London financiers made it clear that the Pilgrims were not going to be the only passengers. The investors insisted that a rag tag crew of non-religious settlers—who the Pilgrims referred to as “the Strangers”—were also coming along for the ride, and that would soon become a source of awkwardness. But that was the least of their worries, really.

Bradford wrote:
As for the season, it was winter, and those who have experienced the winters of the country know them to be sharp and severe, and subject to fierce storms, when it is dangerous to travel to known places, — much more to search an unknown coast. Besides, what could they see but a desolate wilderness, full of wild beasts and wild men; and what multitude there might be of them they knew not!
…Summer being done, all things turned upon them a weather-beaten face; and the whole country, full of woods and thickets, presented a wild and savage view.
Having signed a governing agreement, the Plymouth settlers then elected their first governor, John Carver. During their first forays ashore, the settlers discovered that the area was largely desolate.
In the years prior to their arrival, the population of the local Indian tribes had been decimated by civil wars and by a plague brought by European fisherman. The disease had wiped out whole villages, where the settlers found only scattered bones, left to the elements because no one survived to bury them.
They decided to build their settlement on the ruins of an abandoned Indian village called Patuxet, where once as many as 2,000 Indians had lived before the plague ravaged the area.

They were ill-equipped. The weather was impossible. Many of them didn’t even leave the Mayflower, and eventually the ship was turned into a makeshift hospital for the sick and dying. Those who settled in the village lived in constant fear of being attacked by hostile Indian tribes.

At that providential moment, an Indian named Samoset of the Wampanoag Tribe walked into the Plymouth camp and astonished the Pilgrims by greeting them in English, which he had learned from his encounters with settlers from the Virginia Colony.

Six days later, Samoset returned to the village with the Wampanoag leader Massasoit. After entertaining their visitors with food and sport, the Pilgrims and the Wampanoags negotiated a mutually beneficial agreement. They would defend each other in the event of an attack by the hostile tribes. And later on, they would establish trade with each other. To help the settlers survive the next winter, an Indian by the name of Tisquantum, or Squanto, stayed with the settlers to show them how to plant their spring crops.

Thomas Hunt, decided to make extra money by kidnapping Indians and selling them into slavery. Squanto was among the victims Hunt trafficked to England, which is how he learned English. He eventually regained his freedom after his final captor, an English explorer named John Dermer, died during an expedition to the Wampanoag territory.

And yet this man, who had so many reasons to curse the English, worked side by side with the Pilgrims that spring of 1621, showing them how to plant crops and assisting them in establishing trade with the surrounding tribes. Without his help, the Plymouth Colony would have failed.

With the help of Squanto, the Pilgrims had a successful harvest in the fall of 1621. They had come through the first winter, after losing 60 percent of their group. But rather than mourn the 60 percent lost, they rejoiced that 40 percent still lived and gave thanks to God.

And there you have it! The Pilgrims gathered for a harvest feast, and the Wampanoags joined them and brought venison to add to the feast, which lasted for three days and included sports (no word on whether it was football).
Let the record show that this first Thanksgiving actually was a “quintessential feel-good holiday.”
 

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Another overlooked fact of the initial landing party was that they had a contract that they would farm in common. No private property or individual farms: everything was held -- and was supposed to be worked -- communally. As inevitably happens, some worked, many didn't, but everyone expected and took Their Fair Share. <shudder>

Once the settlers divided the land into family plots, their situation improved mightily.
 
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Another overlooked fact of the initial landing party was that they had a contract that they would farm in common. No private property or individual farms: everything was held -- and was supposed to be worked -- communally. As inevitably happens, some worked, many didn't, but everyone expected and took Their Fair Share. <shudder>

Once the settlers divided the land into family plots, their situation improved mightily.
From my link

According to the right-wing revisionists, the Pilgrims were a band of hippy socialists who nearly starved to death during their first winter in the New World due to their mindless embrace of Marxist collectivism, but then—in the nick of time—they embraced Hayekian economics and lived happily ever after as free market capitalists. This retelling of the first Thanksgiving as a libertarian morality tale is obviously false, but at least it comes from a place of love. The right-wing revisionists dislike socialism; so, in their telling, the Pilgrims are heroic because they’re anti-socialists. In truth, the Pilgrims weren’t socialists or anti-socialists, and they certainly weren’t libertarians.
 

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According to the right-wing revisionists, the Pilgrims were a band of hippy socialists who nearly starved to death during their first winter in the New World due to their mindless embrace of Marxist collectivism, but then—in the nick of time—they embraced Hayekian economics and lived happily ever after as free market capitalists. This retelling of the first Thanksgiving as a libertarian morality tale is obviously false, but at least it comes from a place of love. The right-wing revisionists dislike socialism; so, in their telling, the Pilgrims are heroic because they’re anti-socialists. In truth, the Pilgrims weren’t socialists or anti-socialists, and they certainly weren’t libertarians.
A rather cynical viewpoint from modern politics. But there is a degree of truth in both accounts. While it's true that the locals taught them agricultural methods that helped save their asses, their troubles didn't end there. They were producing barely enough to get by.

From Gov. Bradford

“The experience that was had in this common course and condition, tried sundry years…that by taking away property, and bringing community into a common wealth, would make them happy and flourishing—as if they were wiser than God. For this community (so far as it was) was found to breed much confusion and discontent, and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort. For young men that were most able and fit for labor and service did repine that they should spend their time for labor and strength to work for other men’s wives and children without any recompense…that was thought injustice…At length, after much debate of things…that they should set corn every man for his own particular, and in that regard trust to themselves; in all other things to go in the general way as before. And so assigned to every family a parcel of land, according to the proportion of the number, for that end, only for present use and ranged all boys and youth under some family. This had very good success, for it made all hands industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been by any means the Governor or any other could use, and saved him a great deal of trouble, and gave far better content. The women now went willingly into the field, and took their little ones with them to set corn, which before would allege weakness and inability; whom to have compelled would have been thought great tyranny and oppression.”

...And yet this man, who had so many reasons to curse the English, worked side by side with the Pilgrims that spring of 1621, showing them how to plant crops and assisting them in establishing trade with the surrounding tribes. Without his help, the Plymouth Colony would have failed...
This wasn't just done out of the kindness of their hearts. They wanted something in return. They wanted help from the well armed pilgrims against hostile tribes.

But, in the end, a mutual alliance and friendships were formed. And yes, changes in production did result in an abundance that allowed for more trade with the indians.
Everyone had something to be thankful for.
 
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This wasn't just done out of the kindness of their hearts. They wanted something in return. They wanted help from the well armed pilgrims against hostile tribes.
From the link
Six days later, Samoset returned to the village with the Wampanoag leader Massasoit. After entertaining their visitors with food and sport, the Pilgrims and the Wampanoags negotiated a mutually beneficial agreement. They would defend each other in the event of an attack by the hostile tribes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Stossel wrote a good piece on the early settlers (there's a YouTube video on it as well).

Thanksgiving Tragedy
By John Stossel

Tomorrow, as you celebrate the meal the Pilgrims ate with Indians, pause a moment to thank private property.

I know that seems weird, but before that first Thanksgiving, the Pilgrims nearly starved to death because they didn't respect private property.

When they first arrived in Massachusetts, they acted like Bernie Sanders wants us to act. They farmed "collectively." Pilgrims said, "We'll grow food together and divide the harvest equally."

Bad idea. Economists call this the "tragedy of the commons." When everyone works "together," some people don't work very hard.

Likewise, when the crops were ready to eat, some grabbed extra food — sometimes picking corn at night, before it was fully ready. Teenagers were especially lazy and likely to steal the commune's crops.

Pilgrims almost starved. Governor Bradford wrote in his diary, "So they began to think how they might raise as much corn as they could ... that they might not still thus languish in misery."

His answer: He divided the commune into parcels and assigned each Pilgrim his own property, or as Bradford put it, "set corn every man for his own particular. ... Assigned every family a parcel of land."

That simple change brought the Pilgrims so much plenty that they could share food with Indians. Bradford wrote that it "made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been."


Follow the link for the rest of the article:

 

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The first Thanksgiving celebrated in what is now America was held on September 8, 1565 in Saint Augustine, Florida by Spaniards and Timacua indians.
 
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