Scott versus Scott

Welcome to our blog. Here we will debate the days most serious topics and allow users the chance to discuss the topics as well. The range of topics will vary, but one thing will remain certain, the debate will rage on. Scott Lesinski is a proud conservative and Scott Jones is a proud liberal. However, the roles will switch on some topics. Stay tuned.

Scott Lesinski is currently an actuarial associate for a large human resources and insurance consulting firm in Saint Louis. He is also an avid student of US history and enjoys following current events, with an eye to their contextual relationship to the past. He is also, in fact, a former student of Mr. Scott Jones. Scott is working toward his FSA credentials, which is akin to earning a PHD in Actuarial Science.

Scott Jones is currently a high school social studies teacher at a high school in suburban St. Louis, MO. He teaches World History, AP American Government and Senior American Foreign Policy. He has a BS. Ed. (Secondary Social Studies) from the University of Missouri - Columbia and a M.A. (History) from Southeast Missouri State University. He is currently working on a dissertation in character education to earn a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Real Story of the First Thanksgiving

Friends, it’s this time of year that I feel the “reason for the season” is most often overlooked. Most people can easily explain the significance of Christmas or Easter. Maybe fewer, but still a majority of Americans understand what the 4th of July represents. Everyone knows why they like Halloween, even if they are perhaps a little curious as to why we have those particular traditions.

However, I’ll bet most of you do not know the real reason for the official holding of a Day of Thanksgiving once a year.

Oh, you probably know the general idea, the whitewashed, politically correct, historically inaccurate and revised story. Many in America, myself included, were taught this story of Thanksgiving:

In 1621, the Mayflower Colony landed in Virginia. They arrived too late to plant crops and thus, half the colony starved to death in a harsh winter. Fortunately, a kind and wonderful Indian named Squanto, who had been a slave in England and could speak English, was present to teach the pitiful colonists how to raise corn and other crops. As a result, the Pilgrims held a great feast in honor of their Native American savior, which is what we celebrate each year.

Unfortunately, this story is as much fairy tale as Rumplestiltskin.

While it is true that Squanto assisted the colonists that first spring, the first Thanksgiving Celebration was held to thank God for bringing the colonists to America.

The next part of the story is usually omitted from history class in school, but it is the most important:

When the Pilgrims set out on their journey to the New World, they established a sort of collectivism: All would work the fields and all would be entitled to one common share of the harvest. The land and buildings were all publicly owned as well. Predictably, this construct failed miserably. All of the work was being done by about twenty percent of the population with the other eighty percent choosing to live like parasites and take from the common store without putting in their own share of the labor. As a result, the harvests of 1621 and 1622 were pitiful.

The Governor of the Mayflower Colony, William Bradford, then attempted something radical: He gave each family a plot of land and told them that they make keep whatever they could produce. He abolished socialism and introduced capitalism. Thus began the foundation for the concept of American Exceptionalism – private property.

The harvest of 1623 was unlike anything seen before and soon the settlers were able to engage in robust trade and pay their debts to England. It was that year that the real reason for the season was named: the Pilgrims gave thanks to God for bringing them the concept of capitalism and teaching them the failure of socialism. Long before Karl Marx was born, early Americans had tried and totally rejected the failed premise of his utopian idea.

Its sad to me that not all Americans know this critically important story from our early history. The brainwashing of our people and the revisionists of history have tried to sweep away the great lessons of our forefathers. But now you know the truth. As you gather with family and friends this Thanksgiving, share with them the history I have shared with you and remember why it is we give thanks. Recall that for which you are thankful. The last Thursday of November is not just a day for gather with family and stuffing our faces with delicious turkey, potatoes, and cranberry sauce: it’s a day to recall the great lessons of our forefathers and thank God for allowing us to be born in the United States of America.

Happy Thanksgiving.


  1. Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me to "recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:"

    Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

    And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

    Given under my hand, at the city of New York, the 3d day of October, A.D. 1789.

    -George Washington

  2. To continue the story -

    After Washington, Thanksgiving was celebrated occasionally until Abraham Lincoln declared a national holiday in 1863 to celebrate the Union victories of that year - mainly Gettysburg and Vickburg.

    Here is the proclamation as delivered to the Congress by William Seward.


    By the President of the United States of America.

    A Proclamation.

    The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

    In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

    Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.

    By the President: Abraham Lincoln

    William H. Seward,
    Secretary of State

  3. Scott,

    You are most right about the private property thing. The United States was the first place/nation where anyone could own land. In Europe, only the nobility could own land (along with the Catholic Church). Land was handed down generation after generation of nobility.

    However, as it developed in America, and then was codified into its laws, any person, regardless of birth or family name, could own land.

    Today, America still represents social change. Nowhere else in the world can a young person escape their birth and become who they want to be.

    Social mobility is the true nature of American Exceptionalism.

  4. And what is it that permits such social mobility?

  5. Social mobility comes from having the opportunity to gain the skills necessary to escape/move from a lower socioeconomic status to the middle class.

  6. Scott L,
    This William Bradford sounds like a Socialist to me. He GAVE everyone in the town a plot of land. If you're advocating that we run our government like he did, then please, go ahead!

  7. Uhh, Greiner, it wasn't a nation of 300,000,000 people when everyone got their piece of land. Not only that, nobody actually owned anything because they were all trying to share everything and it wasn't working. It wasn't that he owned the land and gave it to people or took land from someone else to give it to another person. Nice try though.