Alright, perhaps that’s not the header you remember seeing on my Thanksgiving column last year. But I made the juxtaposition for this post while the contrasting subjects are fresh on my mind – The Pilgrims (in 1621) and Voltaire (1694-1778). I’m currently working on a term paper about Voltaire’s influence on the French Revolution. The Pilgrims, of course, represent a very different tradition which would influence the American Revolution.
I wrote about this last year in my column, “Angelina Jolie thinks Thanksgiving celebrates a ‘story of murder’“:
. . .The Separatists who ventured to start a new government in the New World endured an awfully rude voyage across the Atlantic and had managed to survive a year in a strange land. But when a successful harvest took place in 1621, did they praise themselves and their superior culture? Did they thank themselves for all their hard work?
No. They thanked God.
While the first rays of the Enlightenment were appearing in Europe, the multicultural and anti-humanist celebration of the century was taking place in a humble community in North America. While the movement in Europe would play a significant role in ushering in an era of folly and bloodshed (particularly in France, a country Jolie is notably fond of), the movement in America would result in a mindset which would make the American Revolution unique compared to others around the world.
The Pilgrims could not have survived if certain events and certain people had not been placed in their way – and they knew it. They set sail for Virginia, but happened to land in Massachusetts due to a navigation error. There they were greeted by Squanto, the Patuxt Indian who happened to be fluent in English and happened to have returned to Plymouth just in time. The Pilgrims understood these and other strategic happenings to be acts of Providence, for which they were very thankful.
This spirit of thanksgiving that was nurtured throughout U.S. history is a uniquely American brand of a Biblical tradition. . .
Click here to continue reading my 2010 Thanksgiving column. I was informed by a member of the EIB Network that this article of mine has been placed in Rush Limbaugh’s “Stack of Stuff”.
Have a blessed Thanksgiving!