a collection of amusing, fascinating, insightful, or maybe even useful information

The Real  Story Behind Thanksgiving
Did you know that the first [Plymouth Colony Pilgrim's] Thanksgiving was a celebration of the triumph of private property and individual initiative?

William Bradford was the governor of the original Pilgrim colony, founded at Plymouth in 1621. The colony was first organized on a communal basis, as their financiers required. Land was owned in common. The Pilgrims farmed communally, too, following the "from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs" precept.

The results were disastrous. Communism didn't work any better 400 years ago than it does today. By 1623, the colony had suffered serious losses. Starvation was imminent.

Bradford realized that the communal system encouraged and rewarded waste and laziness and inefficiency, and destroyed individual initiative. Desperate, he abolished it. He distributed private plots of land among the surviving Pilgrims, encouraging them to plant early and farm as individuals, not collectively.

The results: a bountiful early harvest that saved the colonies.  After THAT  harvest the Pilgrims celebrated with a day of Thanksgiving.  

Unfortunately, William Bradford's diaries -- in which he recorded the failure of the collectivist system and the triumph of private enterprise -- were lost for many years. When Thanksgiving was later made a national holiday, the present November date was chosen. And the lesson the Pilgrims so painfully learned was, alas, not made a part of the holiday.

Happily, Bradford's diaries were later rediscovered. They're available today in paperback. They tell the real story of Thanksgiving -- how private property and individual initiative saved the Pilgrims.

This Thanksgiving season, one of the many things I'm thankful for is our free market system (imperfectly realized as it is). And I'm also grateful that there are increasing numbers of Americans who are learning the importance of free markets, and who are working to replace government coercion with marketplace cooperation here in America and around the world.

Paul Schmidt

PS: A special thanks to long-time Advocate volunteer Cris Everett, who told us about this neglected bit of history several years ago.

-- copied from  which was excerpted from the Nov. 20, 1997 issue of  THE LIBERATOR ONLINE at

   "Back in the early 80s, we took the kids up to Plymouth to see my wife’s sister who lived there at the time. Visited Plymouth Plantation. During the tour, I was struck by the presence of fortified guard shacks in the town square and asked the guide if they were a last line of defense for the citizens there if trouble with the natives spilled into the compound. He told us that they were for the control of the FOOD RIOTS which broke out those first few winters — BEFORE they abandoned their experiment with Marxism before Karl was even born.... Seems each generation or so we must relearn the hard lessons of history."
                                           -- Dick Bachert

for more detailed accounts see:
The Great Thanksgiving Hoax  at -

The Pilgrims’ Real Thanksgiving Lesson  at 
The REAL Meaning of Thanksgiving at
How Capitalism Saved America  at
The REAL Thanksgiving Story at 
Why the Pilgrims Abandoned Common Ownership for Private Property at

How Private Property Saved the Pilgrims at  Giving Thanks for Lessons Learned at 
The Moral Meaning of Thanksgiving at
The Plymouth Experiment at      
Thanks, Private Property! by John Stossel at

Find some more excerpts from Plymouth Colony Governor William Bradford's journal HERE:

Finally, to see how it feels to be caught in a coerced-sharing society check out THIS page:
AND for those of you unfortunate enough to have to deal with fanatical self-righteous altruists, see THIS page:

Also see: "Private Property Saved Jamestown, And With It, America" HERE:  and  

The Miracle of the Free Market and No Turkey Czars at  

Individualism vs. Collectivism: definitions and how they compare at

Check out: HOW CAPITALISM SAVED AMERICA: The Untold History of Our Country, from the Pilgrims to the Present by Thomas DiLorenzo (paperback) $9.95




Also see Tasty Trivia-here:  

"Property must be secured, or liberty cannot exist." -- President John Adams, direct descendent of Pilgrims John and Priscilla Alden 

"The true foundation of republican government is the equal right of every citizen in his person and property and in their management." -- Thomas Jefferson

"Private property is the most important guarantee of freedom." -- F.A. Hayek 

"No freedom is secure if your property rights are not secure." -- Neal Boortz

"Property is the foundation of all civilized society." -- Thomas Jefferson

"It is the institution of private property that protects and implements the right to disagree."-- Ayn Rand

"If you can't own (and use) property, you are property." - Wayne Hage

The Untold History 
of Our Country, from 
the Pilgrims to the Present
Thomas DiLorenzo

Find an easier-to-copy-and-email version of this page here:


ENJOY and Please pass it along! ------>