Thanksgiving (as we learn of it in school):
The pilgrims simply weren’t capable of surviving in the new world on their own. Fortunately for them, the Native Americans were there to feed them and take care of them and teach them what they needed to know in order to survive. It is to them we owe the survival of the pilgrims and the eventual foundation of our country. This all began from a harvest celebration in which the pilgrims sat down with the Native Americans. Not long after this the pilgrims began stealing and murdering and wiping the Native Americans out.
Thanksgiving (as it was):
William Bradford with 40 pilgrims seeking to escape religious persecution had set out, not on an adventure, but on a mission. Theirs was a Biblical foundation, The Bible having both inspired their flight and established the ground floor of their contract. Theirs was exemplary of the value of “faith.” There was no knowledge that we will succeed, but there also was no doubt.
Upon their arrival they were met with nothing but wilderness. No hotels, no Wallmarts, no family, friends, no welcoming committee. During the first winter half of them perished. When Spring arrived Indians did teach them a great deal but it was not this that grounded our Thanksgiving celebration.
The pilgrims had previously entered into contracts with sponsors in London which required everything grown, trapped, harvested, manufactured or otherwise produced to go into a common store. Each member of the community had one share. This included all of the land and the houses. This was one of histories marvelous examples of socialism. Nobody owned anything and all product was equally distributed amongst all. The very model of the socialist fantasy we are marching toward in America today.
What they soon learned was the weaknesses of the socialist philosophy which rears it ugly head every time it’s tried. The root of its weakness being lack of motivation, which even Godly beliefs and moralistic intentions do not overcome.
William Bradford wrote:
The experience that we 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 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 and strength to work for other men’s wives and children without any recompense, that was thought injustice.
Their solution to this obstacle evolved into the power behind the greatest economy this planet has ever seen. Each family was granted its own piece of land and the responsibility of working, harvesting and marketing the production. Keep what you need and sell the rest and with the money you earn you can buy the best. This worked magnificently, leading to trading posts being set up in which exchanges could be made not only amongst the pilgrims, but with the Indians as well. They were able to pay off their contracted debt with London sponsors. Word spread in England and through Europe and the Great Puritan Migration began.
The first Thanksgiving was indeed a get together between the Pilgrims and the Indians which whom they were trading. It was a mutually beneficial relationship which had resulted from the good will of both sides and shines beautifully from the two-sided coin the Pilgrims thanked God for at the first Thanksgiving. Freedom/Responsibility.