The IUSB Vision Weblog

The way to crush the middle class is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation. – Vladimir Lenin

This Week in History (Mythbuster)

Posted by iusbvision on November 21, 2006

This week in history will be a little different since everyone, not just people in Indiana can appreciate these historical facts. I will now become the “mythbuster” of the
IUSB Vision. Any youngster of any American elementary school could give you a pretty good rendition of the first Thanksgiving. It is well known that Pilgrims and Indians came together to celebrate the settlers’ first harvest in the New World with a feast of turkey and mashed potatoes. Actually, the holiday itself wasn’t created until 1863, and the Thanksgiving story was later developed as a way to teach immigrants about “Americanism.” Here are some of the myths and how they are busted.

The myth states that the English settlers at Plymouth Plantation  hosted the First Thanksgiving, a holiday the Pilgrims brought with them from England in 1621, and it
has been celebrated ever since. The fact is, according to the History
Channel Web site (, both the English and the Wampanoag tribe celebrated the harvest with feasts and festivals before the First Thanksgiving. President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed it a National holiday after the Civil War, as an attempt to bolster national unity.

Yet another myth states that the Pilgrims invited the Indians to share their harvest. In fact, they did share, but the reason that both groups had a harvest was due to the
kindness of the Wampanoag Indians. The English settlers were ill prepared for their errand into the wilderness and would likely have starved without help, according to many scholars. As we were all told the Pilgrims and Indians worked together in the wild environment of the New World. This is also not entirely true. Even with the rocky land cleared for them, the Pilgrims still had to be taught how to sustain themselves by the Native Americans in the area.  So there it is…Myth Busted! 

Carlie Barr

Edited by:
Jarrod Brigham

8 Responses to “This Week in History (Mythbuster)”

  1. Erkki KochKetola said

    Not quite.

    The Wampanoag were initially quite skeptical of the English settlers, having learned what rotten bastards the English could be through long experience. They’d been in contact for several decades prior to 1621. The actual assistance was also provided, so far as we can tell, by two members of the Wampanoag, one of whom we know as Squanto (who, incidentally, had been kidnapped by Englishmen not just once but twice, the second time by a lieutenant of John Smith’s (of Jamestown and Pocahontas fame) who attempted to sell him into slavery – not an uncommon act in those days).

    The Wampanoag, however, decided that they had no other choice because their neigbhors were hostile and, according to Wikipedia, they’d lost nearly 75% of their population to a disease we now believe to be smallpox. Thus, the Wampanoag acted not out of kindness but desperation. The English were a wild card, and while they were known to be rat bastards, they weren’t always trying to wipe the Wampanoag out. Their commercial motives were also already well-understood by the natives.

  2. Erkki KochKetola said

    Another point:

    Only about a third of the passengers abord Mayflower were religious separatists, according to Wikipedia; the rest were “adventurers, criminals and debt prisoners, who England wanted to get rid of. Before this, the Plymouth Company was founded by a trading company of rich London traders, who were interested in the barter trade in the New World.”

  3. Bret Matrix said

    Why do you constantly use Wikipedia as a source. Someone who likes to quote references as much as you do should know that Wikipedia is a lousy source. Anyone can update that site and put whatever they want to on it.

  4. Erkki KochKetola said

    Are you implying that the Wikipedia article is not accurate in this case?

  5. Bret Matrix said

    No, but I am saying that someone who cites sources as well as you do, should be able to find something better than Wikipedia.

  6. Bret Matrix said

    According to the article, this evidence came from the History Channel’s website. I would trust the History Channel over Wikipedia any day.

  7. Erkki KochKetola said

    So you are implying that the Wikipedia article is inaccurate, because it somehow contradicts the information presented from The History Channel?

  8. Craig Chamberlin said

    According to:
    Both wikipedia and The History Channel are terribly inaccurate sources. You guys should really do some… ummm… research before you post… yes… research…*gets shifty eyed*

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