tv Reel America The Beginning at Plymouth Colony - 1954 CSPAN December 5, 2021 9:11pm-9:30pm EST
called -- called prophesy and men in the village will speak on things, matters in the past week. things perhaps from master brewster's sermon that they understand better or that happened in their own lives that helped them understand better and might speak on that for the entire congregation, but really, it's not something that's happening and some here are who not accustomed to having that. >> >> the 17th century english village in plymouth, seven years after the pilgrims arrived on the mayflower.
♪ oh beautiful for spacious skies ♪ ♪ for amber waves of grain ♪ >> when our founding fathers established this republic, they created a political and economic system unique among nations, a system which has led the united states to the very pinnacle in wealth and in world leadership. this series of programs is being presented to help all of us understand better our advantages under our american way of life. >> for today's topic let's join now a group of young people at the national education program workshop in arkansas. at the classroom lectern is clifton, a noted american
historian. >> the american adventure, the american way of life that we'll examine is rather usual. there's nothing quite like if in the world. all of us want to know more, what makes it tick, why it's the best place on earth. why it's worth understanding. why it's worth saving. why wars have been fought to protect it. during the 13 weeks of this course in the american adventure our general purpose will be to answer many questions about the american way of life and to explore the workings of the american economic and political systems so that we may understand its significant and importance. why should we bother to do this? because in one generation many of the nations of the world have become either socialistic or communistic and the advocates of both of these economic and political systems have determined to gain control
of our country. let's look at this map of the world. here live two and one quarter billion people. they work and worship under all kinds of economic and political systems. some dictatorships to democracy, from collectism to individualism. now let's see how socialism and communism have expanded since the end of the first world war. these dark areas are the nations that today live under communism or that have adopted a considerable degree of socialism. some of them were overrun and captured by russian communism. but some have drifted into or actually voted into being. many tum aspects of socialism. the people were promised all sorts of economic and material benefits so they decide today try socialism. in some of our later classes we are going to examine socialism with its promises and results.
and we're also going to shine the spotlight of knowledge on communism and some of the tactics in america. but in the beginning, let's just learn about the american system. did you know that the founders of america when they came from england seeking freedom and a better way of life, established first a communal or collectist economic system? they did, both at jamestown and at plymouth rock. let's gain a look at the plymouth colony. . >> in december of 1620, 101 pilgrims from england reached the atlantic coast on the mayflower. the purpose of the crossing and life in a primitive unknown land was to gain religious freedom for themselves. they had no preconceived ideas about building a nation, a society or a system of economics. by common consent, the colony's
economic system was community. the property was community problem or public property. owned in effect by the colony's government. the people worked together, shared and shared alike in the total production of the colony. it went like this. there was a common store house. each family brought all its produce of whatever kind to the store house. the government of the colony allocated the goods on the basis of equal shares for all. this was the christian spirit of sharing. our forefathers were people basically motivated by christian principles and many felt they would best progress under this economic arrangement and have full freedom, also, they thought they had an ideal economic system. even among the dedicated christians, however, with great measure of freedom the theory of government ownership of
property and communal living did not work in practice. a few of the less indust trust colonists discovered no matter how little they produced and went to the store house, they had the same as their neighbors. they began to loaf, and the industrious began to slowdown, also. as the production of vegetables and grains and meats, the goods in the store house dwindled. in time, starvation lend to wife out the colony. the leaders of the colony despaired of their communal experiment. instead of plenty for all the collectiist only had poverty and stagnation. something had to be done to restore of the energy of the colony. either a way must be found to
stimulate work and production through voluntary willingness of anything or they'd have to resort the coercive measures based on force that had been a part of human history for thousands of years. the plymouth colonists didn't want to enforce with police power. but they believed that freedom was godly for all mankind. they had fled to the new world seeking this freedom. so the communalist system put them toward starvation, they private property and able bodied man was to become responsible for his family. the community owned or government owned farm lands and pastures would be parcelled out for private ownership. people would exchange goods and services among themselves.
according to their abilities and desires. the industrious and the lazy alike would have to work or would suffer a self-inflicted penalty. one of hunger and disgrace. from this time forth the people possessed their own property. thus at plymouth was established the fundamental characteristic of american philosophy. just the opposite of the public ownership system of socialism and communism. did it change things for the better at plymouth colony, certainly did. and from the government to the individual citizen marked the beginning of progress in the colonies. it helped to establish the foundation of the american economic system. william bradford, governor of the plymouth colony, wrote when the system was established and self-reliance was the rule, the
house wives came out of their kitchen and children gave up play time to work in the fields so the family could have more and do better. the fruit of their labors were there, no wonder they were willing to work. who could look at the incentive of ong property and keep the proceeds of one's labor. and that had happened at plymouth had happened in jamestown earlier. students of history will recall the colorful interlude at jamestown with characters such as captain john smith and pocahontas who saved him from the anger of a chief. and this that was established at jamestown and common store house and equal measures for all. and it failed miserably just at plymouth. and in jamestown people almost
starved under this. and they had individual responsibilities instead of government property and dependence upon the common store house started the colony on the road to success. what captain smith wrote in his diary. >> after the starvation was averted in jamestown changing to property ownership and self-reliance. and they labored jointly together, he wrote, and he who could from his labor or slumber over his path, he cared not how. and how it prospered the general store must maintain, even the most honest among them, wrote captain smith, could hardly take too much pain in the week under public ownership and come on store house system as now for themselves they will do in a day. and it's not so much corn from
the labors of 30 as now three or four will provide for themselves. both at jamestown and plymouth colony, it was established that men would not work for the fullest of their capability. without the incentive the ownership and personal profits and it was likewise demonstrated so long as there's dependence upon a public store house, person incentive withers, and production falls even among the most honor christian people as captain smith and governor bradford noted. the positive lesson learned from these two examples is that the individual's right to zone property, the spirit of self-reliance, and the presence of incentives, individual freedoms, and responsibilities worked for the good of all. today these principles are found in our economic system, working for the benefit of all
americans. in subsequent classes, as we consider other phases of our economic and political life, we will consider the dangers that threaten the continued existence of the principle of private ownership. posing such questions as, is the principle of private ownership being diluted with our permission, but without realization of the danger? and is the pendulum in america swinging back toward public ownership after 350 years of progress unmatched in all the 6,000 years of human history in these are questions worth our consideration, aren't they? and we shall consider them. but for now, class dismissed. >> the american adventure series is a production of the
>> watch this program and thousands more at c-span.org/history. >> now, please join me welcoming a co-host from the new england society american ancestors. the red of education and on-line programs that they have. welcome. >> thank you, kristin. i'm honored to be here and to welcome nhgs members and friends to this program. we're excited to be partnering with the boston public library once again and as kristin minced, mentioned i'm the director of programs at american ancestors and the
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