Well, we're about to celebrate Thanksgiving. Yes, our thoughts turn to turkey with all the trimming, pumpkin pie and football. But during today's broadcast, John Stonestreet interviews author and historian Dr. Larry Schweikart, who will remind us about the pilgrims' reverence for God. And he'll dispel many of the myths that have sapped the holiday of its historical, real roots.
We owe so many thanks to God for the blessings He has bestowed upon us and our nation. So Dr. Schweikart's thoughts this week represent something we have a duty, as heirs of these blessings, to understand and preserve. We're excited to have him here to help set us straight on Thanksgiving's true history. Dr. Schweikart, who has authored numerous books, including "A Patriot's History of the United States," "Seven Events that Made America America," and "48 Liberal Lies About American History," has spent years dispelling distortions about the motives, actions and beliefs of key figures in our nation's past, not the least of which are the Separatists who landed at Plymouth Bay in 1602.
For the typical public school student today, says Schweikart, the story goes something like this: A band of incompetent Englishmen, driven to colonize the New World by the promise of self-enrichment land in Massachusetts and largely die off under the wrath of a North American winter. Only under the generous tutelage of the Native American population, who selflessly assist the invaders, are they prepared for another winter. Thus, the first Thanksgiving was held as a celebration to thank the native population for their life-saving contribution.
The real account, says Schweikart, looks little like this fiction. It involves a people determined to create a profoundly faith-centered society modeled after the Puritan view of life. In pursuit of that end, they instituted an economy based on collectivist principles. It was this substantially communist system, rather than a lack of understanding or competence, which led to Plymouth's "starving time," not unlike that experienced at Jamestown several years prior. Bad economics and public policy, not inability to care for themselves, was what cost the pilgrims so dearly during their first days in the New World, says Schweikart.
By the same token, it was the institution of four previously uncombined tenets, what Schweikart calls the "pillars of American exceptionalism," which led to subsequent prosperity in the upstart colony, and would shape the civilization which soon inhabited the American continent. This unique combination included a people who held to the Christian worldview, specifically its Protestant variation, exercised English Common Law, permitted private property and relied on a free market economy. Nowhere else in the world had these four pillars come together in the way they did at Plymouth. And that combination in this tiny colony of Anglican Separatists largely laid the foundation for the nation to come.
Ironically, the role played the Native Americans resulted from a Christian influence as well, in the person of Tisquantum (commonly called "Squanto"), a Patuxet Indian captured for slavery as a youth, but liberated by Christians and converted to the faith. William Bradford, governor of Plymouth colony, hailed the Christian, English-speaking Squanto as providentially sent to assist the pilgrims in their endeavors and relations with the natives. BreakPoint co-host Eric Metaxas has written the full account of how God used Squanto in "Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving," which you can find at the Colson Center store.
If you enjoyed today's broadcast and Dr. Schweikart's insights, we hope you'll also check out our Theme of the Week and Two-Minute Warning, in which we dive further into the history, the lessons and the reasons we commemorate this historic time of year.
And all of us at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview wish you and your family a very happy and blessed Thanksgiving!
Explore this week's Colson Center "Theme of the Week," in which we explore the question, "have we forgotten Thanksgiving?" >>CLICK HERE.
Watch John Stonestreet's "Two-Minute Warning" video on the importance of thankfulness to the Christian life. >>CLICK HERE.