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The Alan Sanders Show

Nov 24, 2022

Today's show focuses on the holiday we are celebrating here in the United States of American. Today is Thanksgiving Day. But, in my lifetime, I have seen the story of the first "thanksgiving" changed and massaged so as to completely ignore one of the most profound lessons learned in the early colonial days. We all know the story of the Pilgrims and the Mayflower and how the American Indians around Plymouth helped keep the colonists from starving. But, what is not told any longer was how that colony had to change their governance in order to survive. On the brink of extinction, Governor William Bradford brought the leadership together and decided to end their communalism (or as Bradford himself called it "communism").

In an effort to strip away the sins that follow with a love of material property, the colony decided to share everything equitably. They stored all food together and doled out identical portions to each family. As Godly as their intentions, this idea ignored a very basic human trait – we are all different, with unique talents and strengths. Soon, animosity began to creep into the colony. Young, strong men began to resent doing four times the work and getting the same reward as those who barely did anything. Women began to think of themselves as slaves to the communal chores.

On the brink of extinction, they changed everything. They decided families would need to be on their own to make due for themselves. Land was doled out based on household size and after that, they were each to their own devices. And what a fantastic decision. As Bradford writes, "This had very good success, for it made all hands very industrious." In fact, "much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been" and productivity increased. "Women," for example, "went willingly into the field, and took their little ones with them to set corn."

Well before Adam Smith would write "The Wealth of Nations," Bradford had stumbled upon the basics of capitalism. Unleashing the power of the individual brought such bounty and prosperity, that trade and commerce began to flourish. In just a few years, families were writing back to those in England, sharing stories of the land of plenty. And thus started the rapid movement of newcomers to this new world we now call the United States of America.

Before I wrap up, I did want to remind everyone we can think President George Washington for the first Thanksgiving Day proclamation. Then we need to thank President Abraham Lincoln for making Thanksgiving a national holiday. While we enjoy a day of feasting with friends and family, make sure to remember how the holiday came to be, the lessons learned and to be thankful for the many blessings and bounties bestowed upon us by almighty God.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

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