How Communism Almost Killed the Second Thanksgiving

How Property Rights and Prayer Saved the Day

By - Dante Witt -  The Stream 

Mayflower Survivors.jpg

We’ve all heard some version of the story of Thanksgiving, whether as a story of pilgrim gratitude toward helpful Indians or gratitude for God’s providential care. But there’s more to the story: communism.

If you’ve forgotten your history lessons, here is a quick review: the first year after the Mayflower landed was a hard one. Only half of the Puritans who had originally set out from England survived, and when the ship arrived at Plymouth, many of the pilgrims fell ill and died. Those who survived found that their Old World farming methods did not work as well in the New World as they had hoped. They could not grow enough food to survive.

But when all seemed lost, an English-speaking Indian named Squanto arrived and taught them to fertilize their corn with fish, and taught them other life saving techniques such as stream-fishing, growing pumpkins and hunting beaver. Squanto, likely a baptized Catholic, also helped the pilgrims to secure a peace treaty with nearby Indians.

Grateful to God for their deliverance from death, the Puritan leader William Bradford declared a day of thanksgiving, and invited Squanto’s adopted tribe the Wampanoags to celebrate with them. It was a huge success. The Wampanoags enjoyed the celebration so much, they stayed for three days.

Now here’s the part of the story you may not know. Unfortunately, the pilgrims’ troubles were not over. Although Squanto’s farming techniques worked better than their old ones, the pilgrims still could not produce enough food. Was it bad luck? Bad soil? No. The Mayflower pilgrims were part of a joint stock company which stipulated that the pilgrims would pool their resources, and receive a share of the profit.

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