Thursday, November 27, 2008

The US Began As Communists

Ever since the New World had been "discovered" by Columbus in 1492, Europe had been making colonization attempts. Spain was having more success than England, and it wasn't until 1609 that England managed to establish a permanent settlement that did not end in failure, Jamestown.

The Jamestown settlement was a business venture, not a religious one. It nearly failed several times throughout the early years, but a constant influx of people and supplies from England kept it alive long enough to finally get a firm footing.

In the meanwhile, back home in England, a group of people were trying to separate themselves from the official Church of England, the Anglican Church, in order to worship according to their own Calvinistic understandings. These purist separatists, or Puritans, looking for a place where they'd have more freedom to exercise their religious beliefs, moved to Holland. Although they found religious freedom there, their status as non-Dutch prevented them from having any economic success; they were also disturbed that their children were beginning to adopt Dutch ideas rather than the ideas of their own community. So they began looking for another place to go. Their wanderlust earned them the nickname Pilgrims, although they never referred to themselves as such.

The King of England, King James (yes, the same who gave us our King James Bible), gave these Puritan Pilgrims permission to settle in the New World, on the northern edge of the Jamestown settlement area (known as the Virginia Colony, up around the middle of New Jersey), but a storm forced their ship, the Mayflower, off-course, and they instead landed at Plymouth Rock, considerably further North up the coast (near Boston, Mass).

They elected to set up camp there, rather than try to move back down Southward to where they were supposed to be. Some of the settlers were not comfortable being out of the jurisdiction of an official government, so they created the Mayflower Compact, which established the first fully representative government in North America.

The biggest difference between Jamestown and the Plymouth colony was that Jamestown was primarily a business enterprise, whereas Plymouth was a religious enterprise. As such, Plymouth was pretty much left alone to tend to themselves.

According to this article, these first Pilgrims who came over on the Mayflower, and who gave us our first Thanksgiving, were commies. They came over with the idealistic notion that communism was the God-ordained way of life. They spent their first years here with a communistic government, established by themselves.

They nearly died that first year, and had little material success thereafter. As the article says,
[William] Bradford remained troubled by the colony's inability to prosper. He found the answer by studying the Bible and revisiting the notion of private property and incentivized hard work.
The article further notes that Bradford wrote in 1623:
At length, after much debate of things, the Governor (with the advice of the chiefest amongst them) gave way that they should [dispense with communism in favor of a more capitalistic economy].
One of the most telling things which Bradford wrote about this change is this:
This had very good success, for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been by any means the Governor or any other could use, and saved him a great deal of trouble, and gave far better content. The women now went willingly into the field, and took their little ones with them to set corn, which before would allege weakness and inability, whom to have compelled would have been thought great tyranny and oppression. The experience that was had in this common course and condition, tried sundry years and that amongst Godly and sober men, may well evince the vanity of that conceit of Plato's and other ancients applauded by some of later times, that the taking away of property and bringing in community into a commonwealth would make them happy and flourishing, as if they were wiser than God.
Rather interesting, that this great United States of America had already tried and rejected communism, finding it wanting, long before the threat of Communism raised its head in the 20th Century.

And yet now we continually elect politicians who are pushing for the same socialistic communism which Bradford terms a conceit of the ancients.

Those who fail to remember history are doomed to repeat it. Welcome to the Recession.

1 comment:

Engineer said...

I'm a chinese, so I'm interested in this article.