In light of Thanksgiving, John Stossel’s recent column highlights something the Pilgrims had to be thankful for that is often missed in contemporary retellings of the first Thanksgiving: the removal of communal farming. It seems restructuring into a system of private property made a big difference in the harvest:
Had today’s political class been in power in 1623, tomorrow’s holiday would have been called “Starvation Day” instead of Thanksgiving. Of course, most of us wouldn’t be alive to celebrate it.
Every year around this time, schoolchildren are taught about that wonderful day when Pilgrims and Native Americans shared the fruits of the harvest. But the first Thanksgiving in 1623 almost didn’t happen.