History News Network | This Thanksgiving Let’s Finally Stop the Nonsense About the Puritans and Pilgrims

Malcolm Gaskill discusses the myths about the Puritans and Thanksgiving that have become so much a part of our national identity. He writes: “I’d like to think that things have improved in US schools since Loewen [author of Lies My Teacher Told Me] was writing. But the myths he describes thrive elsewhere, perhaps because previous generations have cherished them into adulthood. Liberty and democracy are historical tripwires. Pilgrim ‘liberty’ was not something we would much fancy today. New Plymouth’s government was more like an oligarchy than a democracy, and the idea of freedom of speech was anathema. Passengers on the Mayflower drew up a compact, often painted as an egalitarian proto-Constitution whereas in reality it was just a socially-exclusive old world company agreement. ‘In their pious treatment of the Pilgrims,’ Loewen argues, ‘history textbooks introduce the archetype of American exceptionalism.’” It is difficult to challenge cherished myths, but I hope Gaskill is successful because we can learn more from the truth!

History News Network | This Thanksgiving Let’s Finally Stop the Nonsense About the Puritans and Pilgrims.

Between Two Worlds Gasgill

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