This week the establishment media, encouraged none too subtly by Democrats, has now decreed that “Thanksgiving is about immigration” and that the Pilgrims were “illegal immigrants.”
Normally this could be dismissed as a bunch of soft-headed liberal nonsense, but in the light of the rewriting of American history in many of our school textbooks it bears closer examination and rebuttal.
First of all, Thanksgiving is in no way about “immigration.” It may be about faith in God, perseverance, brotherhood in the face of hardship or even the value of goodwill among diverse people, but it is not about immigration for the simple reason that the Pilgrims did not consider themselves to be “immigrants.”
The Pilgrims were pioneers – colonizers who undertook a voyage for “the glory of God, and advancement of the Christian faith, and honor of our king and country.”
If today’s immigrants come to America with those goals – and there’s plenty of reason to believe that many legal and illegal immigrants from Muslim countries do – then we should certainly not see their arrival as a reason to celebrate, because they represent an existential threat to our way of life.
It is also worth noting that the relationship between the Pilgrims and the Native Americans – Indians – was not necessarily the relationship of welfare recipient Pilgrim to welfare giving Indian that liberals would like us to think.
The treaty of friendship signed between Massasoiet (Massasoit) the Chief of the local Indians and the Pilgrims was very much in the Pilgrims’ favor:
I. That neither he nor any of his, should injure or do hurt to any of their people.
II. That if any of his did any hurt to any of theirs, he should send the offender that they might punish him.
III. That if any thing were taken away from any of theirs, he should cause it to be restored; and they should do the like to his.
IV. That if any did unjustly war against him, they would aid him; and if any did war against them, he should aid them.
V. That he should send to his neighbors’ confederates to certify them of this, that they might not wrong them, but might be likewise comprised in the conditions of peace.
VI. That when their men came to them, they should leave their bows and arrows behind them.
These are hardly the terms a supplicant asks for from a stronger party – quite the reverse.
True, the Pilgrims needed and received tutelage in how to farm and survive in the tough conditions of 17th Century New England – but the bargain was one of commerce, trade and profit, not welfare.
Indeed, Tisquantum a.k.a. Squanto, the English-speaking Indian who offered counsel to the Pilgrims eventually set himself up to leverage the fear the Indians had for English technology for his own private benefit, exacting tributes to put in a good word for someone, or by threatening to have the English release the plague against them.
In other words, far from being a Yoda-like mentor, Squanto was a practitioner of power politics straight out of Machiavelli.
It is also worth noting that a little more than 50 years after the first Thanksgiving King Phillip’s War broke out between the colonists and the Indians. The economy of New England was severely damaged, half the towns were attacked, something like one-tenth of all men available for military service were lost, however, the Indians were virtually wiped out.
That is hardly the warm, touchy-feely story that grade school kids (and adult liberals) would like to believe about the relationship between the piously incompetent Pilgrims and the in-touch with nature granola eating Indians.
However, it did result in what was perhaps the first official Thanksgiving proclamation, setting a day of Thanksgiving on June 29, 1676 for “reserving many of our Towns from Desolation Threatened, and attempted by the Enemy, and giving us especially of late with many of our Confederates many signal Advantages against them, without such Disadvantage to ourselves as formerly we have been sensible of, if it be the Lord's mercy that we are not consumed...”
In the light of liberal revision of what Thanksgiving is about it is worth recalling that of the over 100 passengers who sailed for America on the Mayflower, only 53 Pilgrims were there to celebrate the first Thanksgiving.
In the first three centuries of European-American history, practically everyone who came to America of their own volition came as a pioneer, not as an “immigrant.” They came for liberty and of necessity to wrest a living (and riches if they could find them) from Nature and from a wild and often unforgiving land; sometimes they fought, sometimes they negotiated and traded, but no one gave them anything.
Today, when illegal aliens are put-up in hotels with swimming pools, given a free education, free medical care and even given free underwear, the pioneering aspect of what the Pilgrims accomplished, and how they survived in America has now been pretty much scrubbed out of history.
If Thanksgiving is about anything, it is about that pioneering spirit and how, through the Glory of God, a small band of pious pioneers, not immigrants, planted the values upon which a great Nation was built, and could be lost for forgetting them.
King Phillips War
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