Ben Shapiro takes a look at the true story of Thanksgiving - not the multiculturalism and socialism pushed by leftists every November.
THE REAL STORY OF THANKSGIVING
Thanksgiving is almost upon us, and once again we’ll be treated to the usual dumbed down version of the Thanksgiving story: white Europeans landed in America fleeing religious persecution, were too dumb to farm, and relied on the wise Native Americans to help them. Then they had a meal together and learned to share, after which the white Europeans genocided the Native Americans. Let’s watch some football!
The whole story is much more interesting. And it’s also not particularly friendly to leftists.
The Puritans who came to Massachusetts on the Mayflower weren’t emissaries of religious tolerance. They actually left liberal Holland to push for “the glory of God and advancement of the Christian Faith,” as it says right in the Mayflower compact. Turns out that Christianity was more important than multiculturalism to the heroes of Plymouth Rock.
And Christianity, not multiculturalism, saved the Puritans. The first winter, half the new settlers died. That was because of drought and plague, and failure to understand the crops. Then Squanto showed up.
Squanto wasn’t just a Native American refugee from the Disney movie Pocahontas. He was a Christian. Apparently, Squanto was just a boy when he met the English for the first time – he was captured and sent back to England for training as a guide. In 1614, he returned to America with John Smith – but he was then kidnapped again by one of Smith’s men, sent back to Spain, and sold into slavery.
Spanish monks bought him and taught him Christianity. He somehow ended up in England, and earned the respect of an Englishman who paid for his passage back to the New World. In 1619, Squanto went home.
But by the time he got back, his entire village had been killed by disease.
One year later, the Pilgrims showed up, settling in Squanto’s devastated village. Governor William Bradford wrote that Squanto “became a special instrument sent of God for [our] good…[he] never left us till he died.”
It was Christian Squanto, not “native Americans” generally, who taught the Pilgrims how to farm.
With Squanto’s help, the Pilgrims survived to celebrate the first Thanksgiving in 1621. When he died one year later, he asked Bradford to pray for him so that he could “go to the Englishmen’s God in heaven.”
But that wasn’t the end of the story, either.
The Pilgrims had set up a massive obstacle for themselves: their idea of a religious utopia was a giant commune. And like all communist organizations, it failed spectacularly.
Governor William Bradford wrote: “The failure of that experiment of communal service, which was tried for several years, and by good and honest men, proves the emptiness of the theory of Plato and other ancients, applauded by some of later times – that the taking away of private property, and the possession of it in community, by a commonwealth, would make a state happy and flourishing; as if they were wiser than God…community of property was found to breed much confusion and discontent, and retard much employment which would have been to the general benefit.”
Both men and women refused to work. Stealing became rampant.
So, what did the Puritans do? Bradford described it: in 1623, after the first Thanksgiving, they trashed the system: “The Governor, with the advice of the chief among them, allowed each man to plant corn for his own household…So every family was assigned a parcel of land. This was very successful.”
So successful that more than a century and a half later, George Washington explained the legacy of religious purity in his first Thanksgiving proclamation: “it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor.” And it is with thanks to God and his principles and the pursuit of his purity that we celebrate this Thanksgiving.
Correction: The Puritans and Pilgrims were distinct groups; all references to the Puritans should be to the Pilgrims, although technically, many Pilgrims were members of a sect of Puritanism.