Libertarian messages for Thanksgiving

(excerpt from) Libertarian Party of Citrus County‘s website

As you know the original colony to Plymouth celebrated thanksgiving with the Indians in November of 1623. The Pilgrims arrived in December of 1621, and began their colony as a commune, and organized their farm economy along communal lines. The goal was to share the work and produce equally. This experiment again proved what the ancient Greeks observed eons before. As Aristotle wrote, “That which is common to the greatest number has the least care bestowed upon it.”…

The Humble Libertarian gives a similar account of the first Thanksgiving: here.

20 thoughts on “Libertarian messages for Thanksgiving

  1. Darryl W. Perry

    In 1607 the Jamestowne settlement was established in present day Virginia. For the first 12 years of the colony there was no established or recognized government.
    The first representative assembly in the New World convened in the Jamestown church on July 30, 1619.[1] The General Assembly met in response to orders from the Virginia Company “to establish one equal and uniform government over all Virginia” which would provide “just laws for the happy guiding and governing of the people there inhabiting.”
    Later that year on December 4, A group of settlers arrived where they held a service thanking God for their safe arrival. Some suggest this was the true first Thanksgiving in America, ahead of the Pilgrims’ arrival in Massachusetts. Before leaving England, the new settlers vowed: “Wee ordaine that the day of our ships arrivall at the place assigned for plantacon in the land of Virginia shall be yearly and perpetually keept holy as a day of Thanksgiving to Almighty God.”[2] Those words are carved in a brick gazebo marking the approximate location of their landing along the James River in Berkeley Plantation.

    The first Thanksgiving celebration was NOT because of a “bountiful harvest” or because the settlers were “saved from starvation” by a group of natives. The first day of Thanksgiving in the new world, was a day to give thanks for a safe arrival from England.

    Notes
    1 – http://www.jamestowne.org/Jamestowne_Society_Chronology.htm
    2 – http://www.virginia.org/site/features.asp?featureid=50

  2. Bill Wood

    Thanks Darryl! I remember reading about this many years ago in the Richmond Times-Dispatch. A side note: A Virginia Native American Tribe still pay their taxes in deer and turkey.

  3. Robert Capozzi

    One event doesn’t make a tradition. Did the tradition continue in Jamestown, or was it a one-shot deal?

    If Plymouthers had their’s year after year, and Jamestown didn’t, that might go a long way in explaining why the tradition is traced back to Plymouth.

    Good marketing requires consistent messaging.

    History is riddled with myths based on half truths. The myth and reality of Columbus, for ex., might cause us to not honor his memory, either.

  4. Darryl W. Perry

    @RC – I’ve seen nothing to suggest that the Plymouth settlers had a Thanksgiving annually.

    And most people are not taught in school about the Jamestowne settlement other than a brief mention of John Smith & Pocahontas.

  5. Robert Capozzi

    DP, it appears there was a “thanksgiving” in FL nearly 100 years prior to Plymouth, too. History depends on who writes it or lobbies most effectively for their POV, it seems.

  6. Darryl W. Perry

    After a quick google search, I found several sites claiming a “thanksgiving” in St. Augustine on September 8, 1565 – but nothing citing historical records, though it is reported early records from the area were destroyed in approx 1589.

    I stand corrected.

  7. Gene Trosper

    Debates regarding who held the first Thanksgiving aside, I wish everyone here a wonderful Thanksgiving Day wherever they may be.

  8. Kimberly Wilder

    Darryl,

    Thanks for taking the time to write up a little history. I don’t think I ever heard the story of the Jamestown or the St. Augustine Thanksgiving.

    Hope everyone had a good one.

    After all the joy of a lot of relatives and a lot of food crammed into one day, I am ready for a lot of rest.

    😉

  9. Robert Capozzi

    dp, my intent wasn’t to “correct” you, per se. Some mythmaking seems benign enough to play along with — so I’m OK with the Plymouth Thanksgiving myth, even if technically it was not the first such autumnal harvest feast between Europeans and Native Americans.

    Sometimes, myth busting gives rise to alternative myths. Not Plymouth, it was Jamestown! turns out to not be quite right if you ask the St. Augustinians.

    History is often this way. It was a Civil War over slavery gives way to it was a secession over trade gives way to it was over both, competing interpretations of the Constitution, and then some. It seems we need narratives to explain the world, but narratives depend on sorting out myriad datapoints for salience. Narrative myths may be useful as we stumble along the path to truth; investing in narrative myths as THE TRUTH seems unwise to me.

  10. North and South

    The reason why Plymouth thanksgiving is better known is that Northerners made the effort to promote Thanksgiving as a national holiday in an effort to create nationwide traditions and overcome sectionalism.

  11. Tom Blanton

    And most people are not taught in school about the Jamestowne settlement other than a brief mention of John Smith & Pocahontas.

    If you live in Virginia, they teach you about it – over and over again.

    Growing up in Richmond, they taught all about Jamestown every year in elementary school. I remember visiting Jamestown and seeing the replicas of the boats that came over.

    The Civil War was a big topic, too. They taught us about how Grant burned Richmond. Of course, that never happened. The Confederate Army burned Richmond as they retreated while the Union Army was coming into Richmond.

    There’s just no telling what happened in Jamestown. Everything they taught about it is probably bullshit.

  12. Robert Capozzi

    tb: Everything they taught about it is probably bullshit.

    me: Agreed. I go further: Everything they taught about *everything* is probably bullshit.

  13. Michael H. Wilson

    I’ll bet the Vikings celebrated Thanksgiving from their settlements in the New World.

  14. Jose C

    El Paso has entered the sweepstakes. According to the Texas historical society:

    El Paso residents now claim the first Thanksgiving in North America. The modern event, first observed in April 1989, commemorates a day of thanksgiving celebrated by Spanish explorer Juan de Onate and his expedition on April 30, 1598.

    After a long expedition from Santa Barbara in southern Chihuahua to El Paso . . .

    Oñate ordered a day of thanksgiving for the survival of the expedition. Included in the event was a feast, supplied with game by the Spaniards and with fish by the natives of the region. A mass was said by the Franciscan missionaries traveling with the expedition . . .

    A member of the expedition wrote of the original celebration, “We built a great bonfire and roasted the meat and fish, and then all sat down to a repast the like of which we had never enjoyed before. We were happy that our trials were over; as happy as were the passengers in the Ark when they saw the dove returning with the olive branch in his beak, bringing tidings that the deluge had subsided.”

    I hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving.

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