Personal Responsibility in History

By Robert A. Armour.

The Plymouth Colony would have starved the first years without help from local Indians.  But something happened in 1623 that unleashed the Protestant Work Ethic, and by 1635 most of the little  towns within 50 miles of Boston had been established.  The New World economy had taken off!

You can find the whole Plymouth Colony story at:
Here is the section on the Economy:


For its first two-and-a-half years, the economy of Plymouth Plantation took the form of a communal system. There was neither private property nor division of labor. Food was grown for the town and distributed equally, according to William Bradford in Of Plymouth Plantation:

The experience that was had in this common course and condition, tried sundry years and that amongst godly and sober men, may well evince the vanity of that conceit of Plato’s and other ancients applauded by some of later times; that the taking away of property and bringing in community into a commonwealth would make them happy and flourishing; as if they were wiser than God. For this community (so far as it was) was found to breed much confusion and discontent and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort.[151]

By 1623, facing starvation Plymouth Plantation’s leaders took another course. Upon allotting private land plots it is evident that productivity increased. Again, according to William Bradford in his account:

So they beganto think how they might raise as much corn as they could, and obtain a better crop than they had done, that they might not still thus languish in misery. At length, after much debate of things, the Governor (with the advise of the chiefest among them) gave way that they should set corn every man for his own particular, and in that regard trust to themselves; in all other things to go in the general way as before. And so assigned to every family a parcel of land, according to the proportion of the number, for that end, only for present use (but made no division for inheritance) and ranged all boys and youth under some family. This had very good success, for it made all hands industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been by any means the Governor or any other could use, and saved him a great deal of trouble, and gave far better content. The women now went willingly into the field, and took their little ones with them to set corn; which before would allege weakness and inability; whom to have compelled would have been thought great tyranny and oppression.[151]

Plymouth Colony has been cited as an illustration of the benefits to productivity gained when comparing a communal system to that of a free market system. With the change in law to allow each laborer to keep the food he grew, productivity received an enormous boost, taking the colony out of starvation. Once again when land was given over to ownership by the working people, production increased significantly.[152][153]

The highlights above are mine.

The Transcontinental Railroad was built from 1861 to 1869.  Between the EPA and the NLRB, do you think that railroad could even be built today?!  We need to unleash the American economy to restore Jobs and Growth to our Economy.  Sharing the wealth—the original communal system of the Pilgrims—government jobs, and a heavy burden of government regulation and expense will guarantee high unemployment for years to come.

Robert A. Armour

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