The Puritans and the holiday of Thanksgiving
If you're under the impression that my family, the Puritans, had anything to do with the holiday of Thanksgiving, sorry, it's not true. But I'm not saying that it wasn't true of the Pilgrims. But the Pilgrims and the Puritans were two different groups. And the difference had to do with a connection with England, which the history books in America have kinda glossed over.
My family, the Puritans, were not Pilgrims. They did not land at Plymouth Rock, they did not come over on the Mayflower, and they sure weren't starving enough to welcome food brought to them, on Thanksgiving Day, by the Native Americans. They were living in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, which was far from the "howling wilderness". They kept their connection to England because ships sailed back and forth to and from there all of the time.
OK, I know that nowadays "Pilgrim" and "Puritan" mean the same thing. The history of the founding of America, by the Pilgrims is the story that America chose to tell once it became embarrassingly rich. And make no mistake, the Massachusetts Bay Colony became incredibly rich. So much so that they saw no reason to keep any connection politically with England. And the United States is, to this day, an embarrassingly wealthy nation.
So in the 1800s, it turned its eyes to more humble beginnings - the Pilgrims, Plymouth Rock, the Mayflower. It just makes sense that the obscenely wealthy people of New England wanted to say that they had come from humble beginnings. Of course it wasn't true, but it makes a great story.
So yeah, it's kind of a trivia point to say that Puritans aren't the same as Pilgrims. And to be fair, the Pilgrims make a better story. They're humbler and more pious. My family, the Puritans, were making so much money in Boston that they could flaunt a power like England. They created their own government, their own army. They called themselves Continentals.
By the way, in spite of their wealth, the Puritans were true Protestants. They believed in the Word of God, and they lived a life of thanksgiving. They thanked God for bringing them to the New World, for delivering them from the corruption that they had seen in the Old World. And they didn't give thanks on the third Thursday of November, they did it every day, with every breath they took.
Posted by Brad Hall