Tuesday, November 22, 2011

According to Peter C. Mancall, the Pilgrims gave thanks, and then gave up on peace

“The first Thanksgiving, as history textbooks have informed generations of students, brought the Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony together with local Algonquian-speaking Indians in 1621. Natives and newcomers shared a harvest meal, which most likely included maize (“Indian corn”), various root crops, turkey and venison,” begins historian Peter Mancall’s op-ed in the November 22 edition of Bloomberg.

However, those times later deteriorated into "...war with the Pequots, the original inhabitants of modern- day Rhode Island and southwestern Connecticut, because they feared these natives were preparing to drive the settlers out. At the height of the war, the English and their Narragansett allies surrounded a Pequot village on the banks of the Mystic River, set it on fire and slew the Indians who ran for their lives."   

Professor Mancall also relates how one Thomas Morton vainly tried to ameliorate Puritan/Indian relations, was deemed "profane" and almost a heretic, burned out of his house and banished three times, including back to England.

Peter C. Mancall is a professor of history and anthropology at the University of Southern California and the Director of the USC-Huntington Library’s Early Modern Studies Institute. He is also is the author of “Fatal Journey: The Final Expedition of Henry Hudson -- A Tale of Mutiny and Murder in the Arctic” and is now writing “American Origins,” which will be Volume 1 of the Oxford History of the United States.

To read the entire piece, click on the headline above or go to:

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