Pilgrims and Socialism

…Let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need.
—Ephesians 4:28


In the earliest days of the Pilgrims, a type of communism was forced on them by the London company, which financed their adventure to the New World. (By the way, the Pilgrims were charged an interest of 45 percent interest, and they paid off every nickel.) This company required that the Pilgrims have a communal or socialistic government in which everything was to be brought into a common barn. Nobody owned any property. It would be from each according to his ability to each according to his need—long before Karl Marx wrote similar words.

The result: unhappy colonists and poor harvests. Gov. William Bradford wrote that the imposed socialism “was found to breed much confusion and discontent, and retard much employment which would have been to the general benefit and comfort.”

So he changed the system. Now it was each man for himself. A piece of ground was given to every family, and the increase was astonishing. Bradford wrote that “It made all hands very industrious, so that much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been by any means the Governor or any other could devise.” That led to thanksgiving celebrations filled with abundance—once free enterprise replaced communism.


Question to ponder: Do you see any tendencies toward communism in our society today?