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The Pilgrims proved that a socialistic government never works.

Religious persecution had prompted the Pilgrims to move from England to Holland in 1608. Yet none of the Pilgrim writers expressed that a desire for greater religious freedom led them to leave Holland for America in 1620, known as the New World at that time. However, life in Holland had proved to be difficult and, despite their hard labor, they struggled constantly with poverty.

As a result, the Pilgrims and Puritans came to the New World for a better life and to bring the gospel to people who had not heard the message of Jesus Christ.  After 66 days at sea, including sailing through some treacherous storms, the Mayflower finally reached Cape Cod in the Massachusetts area. These Pilgrims were prepared to make tremendous sacrifices for future generations – and the sacrifices proved to be costly. By the end of their first winter in America, half of the passengers who had sailed to America on the Mayflower were dead. Yet, the Pilgrims persevered and remained faithful to their God, and He blessed them and their new country.

Governor William Bradford said the Pilgrims indeed became the “stepping stones” in the formation of what has arguably become the greatest nation on earth. These hardworking and motivated colonists turned Plymouth colony into one of the most successful colonies in North America. But it was not without failure at first.

The Merchant Adventurers were the group of English investors whose capital funded the Pilgrims voyage on the Mayflower. The Adventurers set up the “Plymouth Plantation” as a “company” colony, having obtained a land patent from the Virginia Company of London. The bylaws required Pilgrim planters live in a communal system for the first seven years, in which all capital and nonprofits remained “in ye common stock.”

However, Governor Bradford said that sharing “all profits and benefits” regardless of how hard each person worked, was a disaster. No one could own private land or a business. Bradford said the “communistic plan” of redistributing wealth failed: “If all were to share alike, and all were to do alike, then all were on an equality throughout, and no one was as good as another; and so, if it did not actually abolish those very relations which God himself has set among men, it did at least greatly diminish the mutual respect that is so important should be preserved amongst them.”

In 1626, Captain Miles Standish was sent back to England to negotiate to pay off the colony’s debt to the Adventurers. This was successful in freeing Pilgrims from the directives of the Merchant Adventurers. In 1627, the Pilgrims divided the land into farm lots and parceled them to each family. When Bradford described individual capitalism, he said, “I answer, seeing that all men have this failing in them, that God in His wisdom saw that another plan of life was fitter for them.”

Rather than repeating failed socialist experiments, Americans need to remember the powerful lessons learned by the Pilgrims. Socialism is incompatible with free people who desire to thrive and exercise their own talents and gifts in order to prosper. It is also incompatible with Christians who desire the right to worship God and share the gospel. Now that governments are trying to mandate how and when Christians worship, that is quickly becoming a reality.

Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “Starting with the Pilgrims, history shows the damage and devastation of people who entertain socialism. It’s dangerous to empower a government to be so strong that it can take away everything, even our freedom to worship. Americans must wake up. Socialism always leads to failure. The United States of America must never become a socialist country.”

Author: Liberty Counsel