The Plymouth Colony By Kyle Milam
The Plymouth Colony and the first Thanksgiving is a direct example of why socialism fails and capitalism allows prosperity to thrive. Maybe you know the story but in light of the overcrowded field of socialists vying for the Democratic Party’s nomination for President, the real story of the Pilgrims and Thanksgiving bears repeating, repeating and repeating. Credit Rush Limbaugh for bringing the truth of this crucial part of the Pilgrims to the forefront as it is generally brushed aside from traditional history.
The Puritans had fled England for Holland, but due to threat of war and further persecution they decided to colonize in America. Because they lacked sufficient funds to equip the colony, they partnered with the Virginia Colony of London and the Virginia Colony of Plymouth. A key element of the contract between the Puritans and the Companies was that all colonists were to get their food, clothing and supplies from the common stock and goods. Additionally all profits were to be placed in the common store for seven years before dividing among the colonists and the companies. So each colonist was to put all of his harvest in the communal warehouse and would receive back only what was needed under the direction of Governor William Bradford. And as Paul Harvey would say here is “the rest of the story”.
The first winter in Plymouth was extremely brutal resulting in the deaths of half of the colonists. Squanto helped the Pilgrims with new planting methods, but the harvests of 1621 and 1622 were still too small to sustain the colony. Governor Bradford found that this socialist structure greatly hindered productivity. Healthy men resented working harder than sick or lazy men only to receive the same share of food and goods, so they adjusted accordingly and labored less. Wives responded similarly as they considered it a form of slavery to do chores for other men.
Fortunately, Bradford with great deliberation abandoned their socialist framework in light of the increasing famine of 1623. Every family was assigned a parcel of land and given seed to plant according to how much they wanted to plant. Astonishingly, idle men and women once too ill to work were now in the fields planting corn with their children alongside as well. Three times the amount of corn was planted now that each family was responsible for their own food and they could keep, trade or sell any of their own harvest. When a drought threatened the new crops, Bradford called for a day of fasting and prayer. Prayers were answered that night as rain came and sustained a bountiful harvest. From the harvest of 1624, the Puritans were able to ship a boat loaded full of surplus corn and buy back their shares of stock owned by the Companies. Thus completing the conversion from socialism to capitalism through private ownership, hard work and free markets. That Fall, the Puritans set aside days for feasting and thanksgiving to God for their good fortune and bounty.
Some historians quibble on this particular cause and result; many don’t like to admit the innate failure of socialism. But whether the socialist experiment was meant to be temporary until the Company was repaid in seven years or not, the truth is it failed miserably after only two years of existence and free enterprise was so successful they had enough to pay back investors within one year. What is crystal clear is that socialism breeds inactivity and inefficiency. There is little or no incentive to do more than the next guy. Why work harder when the results are no different?
Common sense should dictate, but in today’s political climate common sense goes out of the window. Free enterprise and capitalism are under daily assault by those who seek power for themselves and desire to keep our current President from a second term. The objective of the left is to gain more power in Washington and they need votes to get there. So they pull on the emotions of the young and uninformed, offering free this and free that, guaranteed basic income and so forth; they tell you that you shouldn’t have to work for it, it will be provided from the coffers of the “communal store”. But history tells us how that will play out. Just like the Plymouth Pilgrims, there will be a reckoning when the storehouse runs dry because there are more takers than workers. For the sake of our economic prosperity and that of generations after us, these socialists cannot be tolerated - they must be defeated.