On September 16, 1620, the Mayflower set sail from Plymouth, England with 102 souls on board.
The Pilgrims were initially organized as a Collectivist society. Their contract with their European sponsoring businessmen stipulated that they would function as a Socialist group with each person contributing to the common good and in turn each receiving an equal share of the produce. The Plymouth Colony, its buildings, and its lands would all be owned in common.
Since the Pilgrims did not have enough funds to outfit for the journey and establish a colony, they sought help from the Virginia Company of London and the Virginia Company of Plymouth, companies known as “adventurers,” which were organized to fund and equip colonial enterprises.
William Bradford, Governor of Plymouth Colony, composed the 1620 Mayflower Compact during the voyage. Its purpose was to codify an agreement among the 102 settlers, including his 40 Pilgrims, to live together and to function as a group. All were to be treated justly and equally no matter what their religious beliefs, a truly revolutionary concept for the time.
One of the key points of the contract between the Pilgrims and the Adventurers said that all colonists were to get their food, clothing, drink and provisions from the colony’s “common stock and goods.” In addition, during the first seven years, all profits earned by colonists would go into the “common stock” until they were divided.
“Today we would call this a socialist commune,” Patton wrote. “In other words, the Pilgrims accepted the socialist principle, ‘from each according to his ability, to each according to his need.’ Each person was to place his production into the common warehouse and receive back, through the Governor, only what he needed for himself or his family. The surplus after seven years was to be divided equally, along with the houses, lands, and chattels, ‘betwixt the Adventurers and Planters.’”
The Pilgrims actually wanted to own their own lands and homes and to work two days a week for their own gain, but the adventurers would not allow it.
Once the agreement was signed, two ships were outfitted for the journey, the Speedwell and theMayflower. But the Speedwell proved unseaworthy, so everyone still willing to make the journey—102 persons—crowded aboard the Mayflower and set sail.
Patton wrote that after landing on Dec 21, 1620, the Pilgrims suffered horribly their first winter, with around half the colonists perishing. Aid from the now-famous native, Squanto, helped them survive with new planting techniques, but the harvests of 1621 and 1622 were still small.
The colony’s governor, William Bradford, wrote that its socialist philosophy greatly hindered its growth: Young men resented working for the benefit of other men’s wives and children without compensation; healthy men who worked thought it unjust that they received no more food than weak men who could not; wives resented doing household chores for other men, considering it a kind of slavery.
Governor Bradford wrote that to avoid famine in 1623, the Pilgrims abandoned socialism, Patton said.
“At length, after much debate of things, the Governor (with the advice of the chiefest amongst them) gave way that they should set corn every man for his own particular, and in that regard trust to themselves; in all other things to go on in the general way as before. And so assigned to every family a parcel of land,” Bradford wrote.
The colonists, each of whom now had to grow their own food, suddenly became very industrious, with women and children who earlier claimed weakness now going into the fields to plant corn. Three times the amount of corn was planted that year under the new system.
When a drought threatened the year’s harvest, Governor Bradford called a day of fasting and prayer to “seek the Lord by humble and fervent prayer in this great distress.” God answered that same night with rain that continued in coming days, and the year brought a plentiful harvest.
Governor William Bradford realized Socialism was not going to work. He wisely abolished the Socialist principles on which the Plymouth Colony had been founded. Each family was then given a plot of land to farm and harvest for themselves. The settlers kept what they produced for themselves.
The Colony quickly became prosperous with more than sufficient food for everyone. They produced enough food and other goods to open a trading post where they traded with the local Indians.
“By the fall of 1624, the colonists were able to export a full boat load of corn!” Patton wrote. “And the Pilgrims settled with the Adventurers. They purchased the Adventurers stock in the colony and completed the transition to private property and free markets.”
With the profits they created, the settlers quickly paid off their sponsors. News of their prosperity spread, encouraging others to brave the perils of the New World and to enjoy its early blessings of liberty and prosperity.
William Bradford wrote in his Journal,
“The experience that we had in this common course and condition, tried sundry years…that by taking away property, and bringing community into a common wealth, would make them happy and flourishing – as if they were wiser than God.”
“For this community (so far as it was) was found to breed much confusion and discontent, and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort. For young men that were most able and fit for labor and service did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men’s wives and children without [being paid] that was thought injustice.”
“This [free enterprise] had very good success, for it made all hands industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been.”
Long before Karl Marx and Barack Obama, America’s early settlers quickly learned that the principles of Socialism resulted in economic disaster and extensive personal suffering. These people at Plymouth Colony did not try to perfect Socialism. They quickly and permanently eliminated Socialism.
William Bradford and his fellow settlers were out of reach of their European masters and their business sponsors. They were the start of our great experiment in Liberty. They were free to work for their own benefit without fear that their government would take liberally from what they produced. They sowed the seeds of Liberty, religious freedom, and free enterprise that eventually led to the American Revolution, American Exceptionalism, and the achievement of the American Dream.
What would William Bradford think of the modern attempt to perfect Socialism over the past century? What would he think of the attack by President Obama and other Socialists on American Exceptionalism and the pursuit of the American Dream? What would William Bradford tell us to do as our government plans to take over, regulate, and socialize major amounts of our economy?
If we do not understand our history, we will fail greatly. We are on the brink of wasting and destroying what generations of hard work and sacrifice have taken centuries to achieve.
It is time to recall that our Constitution preserves our right to work without a monarch or other despot taking that which we have gathered. It is a time to remember that we are free people who are able to take care of our families and to do that which we believe will be of the greatest benefit for our families and for us.
Without Liberty there is no abundance. Without Liberty the quality of life and goods deteriorates. Only a free people can produce and maintain an abundant prosperity and a civilized culture. Without Liberty common sense, common virtue, and common decency quickly become uncommon.
None realized better the value of Liberty than our Founding Fathers and those who labored and fought with them to gain our freedom from a monarchy. Our new government was established to protect and serve We the People and to leave us otherwise alone. The people did not serve the government. As such, the people became citizens and not subjects.
The goal of our rulers now is to remove our Liberty and to purposely destroy our prosperity with mandated Socialism. Our government cannot spend money better or more wisely than we can. Wealth redistribution will not cure laziness nor will it promote national security, education, better health, happiness, or anything even vaguely representing prosperity.
Socialism is Evil and there is no refining it.
One Source & Google: Lubbock Avalanche-Journal