and the Teya Indians have a feast in Palo Duro Canyon in Texas
to celebrate his expedition's discovery of food supplies.
Many people consider this
to be the first true North American Thanksgiving.
Sept. 8, 1565: Pedro Menéndez de Avilés
lands in St. Augustine and he and his men share a feast with the natives.
1578: The first North American celebration
of European harvest festivals is held in Newfoundland
by the Frobisher Expedition.
Dec. 11, 1620: The Pilgrims land at Plymouth Rock.
"The English Puritans, who left Great Britain and sailed across the Atlantic on the Mayflower in 1620, were not only escaping from religious persecution in their homeland.
They also wanted to turn their back on what they viewed as the materialistic and greedy corruption of the Old World.
...In the New World, they wanted to erect a New Jerusalem that would not only be religiously devout, but be built on a new foundation of communal sharing and social altruism. Their goal was the communism of Plato’s “Republic,” in which all would work and share in common, knowing neither private property nor self-interested acquisitiveness.
What resulted is recorded in the diary of Governor William Bradford, the head of the colony.
The colonists collectively cleared and worked the land, but they brought forth neither the bountiful harvest they hoped for, nor did it create a spirit of shared and cheerful brotherhood.
The less industrious members of the colony came late to their work in the fields, and were slow and easy in their labors. Knowing that they and their families were to receive an equal share of whatever the group produced, they saw little reason to be more diligent in their efforts. The harder working among the colonists became resentful that their efforts would be redistributed to the more malingering members of the colony. Soon they, too, were coming late to work and were less energetic in the fields.
...Because of the disincentives and resentments that spread among the population, crops were sparse and the rationed equal shares from the collective harvest were not enough to ward off starvation and death. Two years of communism in practice had left alive only a fraction of the original number of the Plymouth colonists.
Realizing that another season like those that had just passed would mean the extinction of the entire community, the elders of the colony decided to try something radically different: the introduction of private property rights and the right of the individual families to keep the fruits of their own labor.
The Plymouth Colony experienced a great bounty of food. Private ownership meant that there was now a close link between work and reward. Industry became the order of the day as the men and women in each family went to the fields on their separate private farms. When the harvest time came, not only did many families produce enough for their own needs, but also they had surpluses that they could freely exchange with their neighbors for mutual benefit and improvement.
...The desire to “spread the wealth” and for government to plan and regulate people’s lives is as old as the utopian fantasy in Plato’s “Republic.” The Pilgrim Fathers tried and soon realized its bankruptcy and failure as a way for men to live together in society.
They, instead, accepted man as he is: hardworking, productive, and innovative when allowed the liberty to follow his own interests in improving his own circumstances and that of his family.
And even more, out of his industry result the quantities of useful goods that enable men to trade to their mutual benefit..."