Two essays for Thanksgiving Day:.
Thankful for Private Property
Today Americans celebrate one of the year’s major holidays, Thanksgiving Day. It commemorates the harvest feasts of the first Pilgrim immigrants who arrived from England in 1620. But as Governor William Bradford wrote in his history of the Plymouth Colony, the settlers initially shared in common the land and the work of cultivation, and as a result the first two harvests were meager. In 1623 scarcity gave way to plenty, because the settlers divided up the land into private plots and cultivated it individually. It is to that year that we date the first true Thanksgiving. The following is an excerpt from Bradford’s “History of Plymouth Plantation”:
And the Fair Land
This essay has run continuously since 1961.
...We can remind ourselves that for all our social discord we yet remain the longest enduring society of free men governing themselves without benefit of kings or dictators. Being so, we are the marvel and the mystery of the world, for that enduring liberty is no less a blessing than the abundance of the earth....