Category Archives: Historic Events

The Plymouth Colony – Communism’s First Foothold in America

We are amidst the Thanksgiving holidays once again, and time for our annual object lesson in how the concept of private property rights, the linchpin of capitalism, acts to ensure the greatest degree of prosperity for all.  Tom Bethell explained it very well in his essay from early 1999 entitled “How Private Property Saved the Pilgrims”, an essay adapted from his book The Noblest Triumph.  To set the stage, here are a few paragraphs from his essay:

The Pilgrims knew about the early disasters at Jamestown, but the more adventurous among them were willing to hazard the Atlantic anyway.  First, however, they sent two emissaries, John Carver and Robert Cushman, from Leyden to London to seek permission to found a plantation.  This was granted, but finding investors was a problem.  Eventually Carver and Cushman found an investment syndicate headed by a London ironmonger named Thomas Weston.  Weston and his fifty-odd investors were taking a big risk in putting up the equivalent of hundreds of thousands of dollars in today’s money.  The big losses in Jamestown had scared off most “venture capital” in London.


Eventually, however, Carver and Cushman did accept terms stipulating that at the end of seven years everything would be divided equally between investors and colonists …

The colonists hoped that the houses they built would be exempt from the division of wealth at the end of seven years; in addition, they sought two days a week in which to work on their own “particular” plots (much as collective farmers later had their own private plots in the Soviet Union).  The Pilgrims would thereby avoid servitude.  But the investors refused to allow these loopholes, undoubtedly worried that if the Pilgrims—three thousand miles away and beyond the reach of supervision—owned their own houses and plots, the investors would find it difficult to collect their due.  How could they be sure that the faraway colonists would spend their days working for the company if they were allowed to become private owners?  With such an arrangement, rational colonists would work little on “company time,” reserving their best efforts for their own gardens and houses.  Such private wealth would be exempt when the shareholders were paid off.  Only by insisting that all accumulated wealth was to be “common wealth,” or placed in a common pool, could the investors feel reassured that the colonists would be working to benefit everyone, including themselves.

Read the whole thing, HERE, and withhold the pumpkin pie from the kids until they read it as well.

World War One was Triggered a Century Ago in Bosnia

Tomorrow will mark the 100th anniversary of Archduke Ferdinand’s assassination by a Serbian nationalist, an event which rapidly escalated into the start of the first World War.  Of course, until World War Two actually happened, the first world war was known simply as the Great War, the very bloody Great War.

Earlier this week, author and retired Army Reserve Colonel Austin Bay published an educational account of the conditions that existed at the time of the assassination, and draws some parallels to show how today’s situation in the Middle East could develop along similar lines.  A short excerpt:

In 2014, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant has proclaimed jihad in Syria and Iraq.  The ISIL wants to re-combine political and religious rule.  Re-establish a global Sunni Muslim Caliphate.  The ISIL’s pitch is utopian.  The ISIL’s Caliphate will secure God’s favor, and Muslims will rule the world — Muslims led by the ISIL’s political, self-interested commanders.

In summer 1914, political instability, institutional decline, fear and bitter grievance gripped Europe.  In 2014, the same afflictions vex the globe.  Perhaps World War One isn’t over; it is just entering another phase.

The full article, on the military blog Strategy Page, is HERE.

D-Day, June 6, 1944: The Seventieth Anniversary

During World War II, Samuel A. L. Marshall was a U.S. Army Colonel serving as a combat historian, and that continued to be his assignment until he retired as a Brigadier General in 1953.  By then, his research and focus on WW2, and on the Normandy invasion in particular, made him about as knowledgable about D-Day and the allied landings as anyone who has ever written about the events of that date.  For the November, 1960 issue of The Atlantic magazine, Marshall used his notes to write a riveting account of that horrific first day.

The account can be accessed via the Education / Historic Events menu, or simply by clicking HERE.