John R. Houk
© November 26, 2014
My childhood years were in the 1960s. I tend to remember the good times nostalgically more than times when this only child found himself in moments of parental discipline. For me the 60s might be viewed as a combination of “Leave it to Beaver” and “The Sandlot”.
Those videos reflect fun memories of a sixties childhood.
Now didn’t grow up in an overtly Christian household; however the lifestyle reflected prevalent values of most Americans whether or not they were Church-going. The memories that stand out often come down to holidays and vacations. Where I grew up Central Washington the month of November was typically the beginning of some cold days. Some of those cold days might even include some snow. As a kid I was not a big fan of horsing around in the cold. As Thanksgiving Day drew closer the days tended to be colder. Unless the kids in the neighborhood could coax me outside I was typically a couch potato during the cold.
Thanks largely to Grade School history lessons on Thanksgiving and the Pilgrims I became stoked for television specials with Thanksgiving themes. In those days those specials were numerous whether they were animation based or live action. Those stories of Thanksgiving were designed to imprint children with a favorable view of the holiday.
All that was a positive narrative of the Thanksgiving story were there: Pilgrim travels, the Mayflower voyage and learning to survive in the New World after landing on Plymouth Rock. The surviving part was typically portrayed as a rough winter, uncertain relation with Indians, Indian friendship, Indian mentoring and followed with the Pilgrims conquering their habitat ending with a feast of their farming success, wild turkey hunting and the Indians sharing of hunted deer.
The positive conclusion was giving thanks to God Almighty for prosperity, overcoming hardship and peace and harmony with the Pilgrims’ Indian neighbors. (I am fairly certain the Pilgrims would have no idea of what a Native American was. Indeed words that were not necessarily meant as a pejorative were probably closer to Savage, Red Man or Redskin. I wonder what appellations the Indians used for White America.) AND thus all’s well that ends well, right?
The reality is that bad things happened to the Pilgrims. They first fled to the Netherlands. Then cultural concerns pertaining to Pilgrim children assimilating into Dutch culture began to be a concern. Dutch culture was a bit looser than the Puritan-Separatist Christian culture promoted by the Pilgrims. The Pilgrims were experiencing Religious Freedom but their identity as faithful Christians was becoming compromised.
The Pilgrims fled England to escape the Religious intolerance of the Crown’s Church of England and now they intended to move again to escape the worldly influence of the Dutch majority. America became that choice. The Pilgrims thus organized to sail from the Netherlands back to England and on to the New World of America. They had to get a “patent or license” from a royal English company for land to colonize. The business venture the Pilgrims worked with was the Virginia Company of London.
The Pilgrims sought Crown permission for the religious liberty to practice their Puritan faith. The King did not specifically come through with the request, BUT neither did he deny it. The Pilgrims took the absence of religious instructions as a sign of favor and thus planned for the voyage.
The original contingent for the voyage was actually a mixture of the Puritan-Pilgrims and not so religious “adventurers”. The two components of the trip ultimately had different agendas upon landing and working with the patent to establish a company plantation.
The Pilgrims desired Religious Liberty and to be missionaries to the Native Americans. The adventurers were looking for a stake find economic self-sufficiency that wasn’t available in jolly old England. There was contention between the two groups. It didn’t help when the second ship of the venture forced the Mayflower to return to England because the second ship (Speedwell) would not have made it across the Atlantic Ocean without sinking. Pilgrims and adventurers not deterred by frustrated loaded up on the crowded Mayflower to sail to the Hudson Bay area.
The Mayflower made it to Cape Cod (the Plymouth Rock-Massachusetts area) after just a little over two months. Their Patent was for a location further north along the coast. Stormy seas prevent the Mayflower to make its destination. The Pilgrims thus decided to return to the Cape Cod area seeing the stormy whether as a sign from God.
The contention between the two groups eventually led to a dispute about the rules and who should obey them, especially they decided to build in a place outside their original patent. After a bit of disharmony the passengers of the Mayflower put together a compact that would be the foundation for self-government at least until the Patent issue was straightened out. The heads male heads of the Mayflower families signed the agreement as binding which became known as the Mayflower Compact:
IN THE NAME OF GOD, AMEN. We, whose names are underwritten, the Loyal Britain, France, and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, &c. Having undertaken for the Glory of God, and Advancement of the Christian Faith, and the Honour of our King and Country, a Voyage to plant the first Colony in the northern Parts of Virginia; Do by these Presents, solemnly and mutually, in the Presence of God and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil Body Politick, for our better Ordering and Preservation, and Furtherance of the Ends aforesaid: And by Virtue hereof do enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal Laws, Ordinances, Acts, Constitutions, and Officers, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general Good of the Colony; unto which we promise all due Submission and Obedience. IN WITNESS whereof we have hereunto subscribed our names at Cape-Cod the eleventh of November, in the Reign of our Sovereign Lord King James, of England, France, and Ireland, the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth, Anno Domini; 1620.
Yeah take that Left Wing history revisionists. The Mayflower Compact is an example of other Charters, Patents and License dedicating government to God and King.
In the first years of the Plymouth Colony the form of government under God ironically resembled Socialism more than Free Market Capitalism. The Pilgrim placed all their food in a common store available to all equally. The fruits of the labor were also a part of this common store. The effect of this socialism was the lazy majority began to depend on the working few for sustenance. The first two years of the Plymouth Colony was the experience of the lack of food, which resulted in starvation, disease and death. Many of the colony became thieves and stole from the common store rather than work productively to perpetuate the utopian dream of equal sufficiency for all. The few working colonialists that suffered lack began to be frustrated when all their work was divided among the slacker majority.
But, with no shelter, and immune systems weakened by the rough voyage, they began to get sick. Colds became bronchitis, and pneumonia set in. The dreaded killer of ship’s passengers—scurvy—and other “wasting sicknesses” ravaged their number. With no effective medicines, they began to die. In January and February the deaths sometimes reached two and three a day; 17 dying in February alone. At one point, there were only five people well enough to be on their feet, caring for the rest. Toward the end of March, when the worst was over, they had lost 47 of their number. Of the 18 wives who had come, 13 had died. Only three families remained unbroken. They were in real trouble, for the food they had brought on the Mayflower was virtually gone, and they were facing an unhospitable wilderness. (The True History and Real Meaning of Thanksgiving; Posted by Sword At-The-Read; from Peter J. Marshall © 2007; posted 11/21/07)
Socialism wasn’t working! Hello President Barack Hussein Obama.
In the harvest feasts of 1621 and 1622, “all had their hungry bellies filled,” but only briefly. The prevailing condition during those years was not the abundance the official story claims, it was famine and death. The first “Thanksgiving” was not so much a celebration as it was the last meal of condemned men.But in subsequent years something changes. The harvest of 1623 was different. Suddenly, “instead of famine now God gave them plenty,” Bradford wrote, “and the face of things was changed, to the rejoicing of the hearts of many, for which they blessed God.” Thereafter, he wrote, “any general want or famine hath not been amongst them since to this day.” In fact, in 1624, so much food was produced that the colonists were able to begin exporting corn.What happened?After the poor harvest of 1622, writes Bradford, “they began to think how they might raise as much corn as they could, and obtain a better crop.” They began to question their form of economic organization.This had required that “all profits & benefits that are got by trade, working, fishing, or any other means” were to be placed in the common stock of the colony, and that, “all such persons as are of this colony, are to have their meat, drink, apparel, and all provisions out of the common stock.” A person was to put into the common stock all he could, and take out only what he needed.This “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need” was an early form of socialism, and it is why the Pilgrims were starving. Bradford writes that “young men that are most able and fit for labor and service” complained about being forced to “spend their time and strength to work for other men’s wives and children.” Also, “the strong, or man of parts, had no more in division of victuals and clothes, than he that was weak.” So the young and strong refused to work and the total amount of food produced was never adequate.To rectify this situation, in 1623 Bradford abolished socialism. He gave each household a parcel of land and told them they could keep what they produced, or trade it away as they saw fit. In other words, he replaced socialism with a free market, and that was the end of famines. (The Great Thanksgiving Hoax; By Richard J. Maybury; Mises Institute; 11/20/1999)
God enabling perseverance and Free Market thinking brought prosperity to the Pilgrims thus it probably wasn’t until the fruits of 1624 was there any real Thanksgiving.
The lessons of Thanksgiving are extremely important to our heritage as Americans.
Americans came to the New World to worship the Christian freely and to rely on strength to survive endowed by the Creator. God was and should always be thanked for overcoming struggles individually and corporately as a people.
Early Socialist-like experiments failed to succeed across the board in Colonial America.
Free Market Capitalism engendered individual self-sufficiency which in turn led trade in the community and outside the colony. The lazy self-entitled died while the thrifty individuals tied to their property succeeded.
Community standards were dedicated to Christian Morality instilling concepts of good and evil government in the rule of law.
Once America became a Republic, individual Presidents annually world declare a day of Thanksgiving before God for the peace and posterity of the USA. Apparently Abraham Lincoln had a religious epiphany while gazing to the Battle of Gettysburg graves leading to him to declare the last Thursday in November to a day of Thanksgiving in 1863. Each President after Lincoln followed suit with Lincoln’s last Thursday in November declaration. The 1941 Congress permanently made Thanksgiving the fourth Thursday of November a Federal Holiday. To this day in 2014 Thanksgiving is celebrated. Unless Separation of Church-State Leftists get their unconstitutional way by keeping the Christian faith out of government by an Obamination social transformation, our Republic will continue to have Thanksgiving.
Save the Republic of the United States of America from transformist thinking by keeping America free by holding these truths as self-evident: “… that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed”. (Declaration of Independence, 1776)