Joseph Farah dedicated his Nov. 26 WorldNetDaily column to pushing the idea that the Pilgrims originally failed because they were socialists:
Before leaving Europe the Pilgrims entered into a contract, dated July 1, 1620, that would have all profits of their “trade, traffic, trucking, working, fishing, or any other means of any person or persons, remain in the common stock until division.”
In other words, the settlement at Plymouth Bay was the first New World experiment in communism – long before Karl Marx supposedly invented it.
To say that social experiment was a total failure would be an understatement. The first winter spelled death and disease and hunger for the colony because the Pilgrims had arrived too late in the season to plant crops and build adequate shelters. Half of them died. The following spring, however, they planted and hunted and fished to get by – just barely. They did invite some of the friendly Indians to join them in their first “Thanksgiving” celebration. But they were not thanking the Indians. They were thanking God for pulling them through.
As William Bradford wrote in his journal: “And thus they found the Lord to be with them in all their ways, and to bless their outgoings and incomings, for which let His holy name have the praise forever, to all posterity.”
Nevertheless, Bradford remained troubled by the colony’s inability to prosper. He found the answer by studying the Bible and revisiting the notion of private property and incentivized hard work.
In other words, the introduction of the idea of private property saved the Pilgrims and made their experiment successful.
To coin a phrase, that’s how “the Pilgrims progressed.”
Historians say that the settlers in Plymouth, and their supporters in England, did indeed agree to hold their property in common — William Bradford, the governor, referred to it in his writings as the “common course.” But the plan was in the interest of realizing a profit sooner, and was only intended for the short term; historians say the Pilgrims were more like shareholders in an early corporation than subjects of socialism.
“It was directed ultimately to private profit,” said Richard Pickering, a historian of early America and the deputy director of Plimoth Plantation, a museum devoted to keeping the Pilgrims’ story alive.
The arrangement did not produce famine. If it had, Bradford would not have declared the three days of sport and feasting in 1621 that became known as the first Thanksgiving. “The celebration would never have happened if the harvest was going to be less than enough to get them by,” Mr. Pickering said. “They would have saved it and rationed it to get by.”
Bradford did get rid of the common course — but it was in 1623, after the first Thanksgiving, and not because the system wasn’t working. The Pilgrims just didn’t like it. In the accounts of colonists, Mr. Pickering said, “there was griping and groaning.”
“Bachelors didn’t want to feed the wives of married men, and women don’t want to do the laundry of the bachelors,” he said.
The real reason agriculture became more profitable over the years, Mr. Pickering said, is that the Pilgrims were getting better at farming crops like corn that had been unknown to them in England.
The Times notes that the version of history Farah is peddling has become gospel among right-wingers despite its lack of accuracy. But then, Farah's WND continues to sell David Barton's book about Thomas Jefferson despite the fact that it was pulled from the market by its publisher due to numerous factual inaccuracies.