Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Were the Pilgrims Socialists?

In recent years the Tea Party has put forth their own version of the Thanksgiving story.  It goes something like this:

The Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth and established a policy of communal land ownership, something akin to socialism.  When this did not work, William Bradford, the colonial governor, decided to institute a system of private property.  This move from socialism to capitalism saved the colony and ultimately saved America.  The real lesson of Thanksgiving is that socialism always fails and capitalism always succeeds.

This view of Thanksgiving is thoroughly debunked by this New York Times article, which includes commentary from Richard Pickering (the deputy director of Plimoth Plantation), author William Hogeland, and NYU professor Karen Kupperman.

I will let the article do the heavy lifting.