As we approach another Thanksgiving holiday we can celebrate once again the harvest festival as did those English colonists known today as Pilgrims. They gave thanks to God for their colony’s survival even though they lost half their community during the harsh winter of 1621.
These colonists settled Plimoth Plantation not as a trading post but as a permanent community for families. While still aboard the Mayflower they signed a binding compact unique in history because the signers agreed to submit to the authority of the community rather than a monarch.
How significant is this event in American history? It set a precedent for the form of self-government the Constitutional Congress would confirm one hundred fifty years later in the basic document of our American government.
So take note, Americans. We do not observe Thanksgiving because our first colonists ate turkey and pumpkin pie at harvest time. We celebrate the Pilgrims for their vision of a community governed by themselves, not an absent king across the sea. This belief in self-government still underlies our concept of proper order for the community. And despite the changes suggested by radical new ideas, this concept is inherent in our character. To compromise this basic belief would just be…un-American!