Another Lesson in Socialism

On November 21, 1620 a small ship named the Mayflower maneuvered into Cape Cod Harbor.  They did no immediately set foot ashore.  That wouldn’t happen until December 21 at a place they named Plymouth (after Plymouth, England, from which they had sailed).

The Pilgrims original charter had established a communal, or common-store, system, similar to that tried at Jamestown.  This system had failed in Jamestown, where greedy men had spent their time seeking ease instead of working to produce food.  But even in Plymouth, where most of the people had a deep Christian commitment, the communal system promoted a lack of diligence and efficiency.  The situation threatened to destroy the colony in its infancy.  To solve the problem, Governor Bradford divided the land among the colonists and made each family responsible for itself, establishing a free enterprise system.  By the time of fall harvest, the wisdom of this decision was evident:

This had very good success, for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been by any means the Governor or any other could use, and saved him a great deal of trouble, and gave far better content. The women now went willingly into the field, and took their little ones with them to se tcorn; which before would allege weakness and inability; whom to have compelled would have been thought great tyranny and oppression.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *