When people think of the historic Boston Tea Party that took place in 1773, they often have images of wild and lawless men destroying the personal property of others and throwing it into the sea in a riot, just so they don’t have to pay a very small tax. About the only thing that is accurate in this description of the event that took place on Thursday, December 16, 1773 is the fact that the proposed tax was small! It is time to rehearse the rest of the story, which is often left untold.
At this time of year many people reflect upon the Pilgrims and the origin of our American Thanksgiving holiday. Some contend that it either never occurred or was not a friendly affair with a legacy of genocide. Hopefully some context and clarity can help remove these myths and bring factual balance.
Consider some of these facts: (1) We do not know when the actual harvest feast occurred, though we know it was the fall of 1621. (2) We don’t know if the Pilgrims invited their Native neighbors to a pre-planned event, but we know they feasted together. (3) The Natives provided much of the food, and though they had turkey, venison ruled the day.
Noah Webster defined the word Providence to mean “foresight; timely care… foresight accompanied with the procurement of what is necessary for future use… the care and superintendence which God exercises over his creatures.” One key word in this definition is “timely”. In other words, God times events for His purposes, and California is such an example.
Though Natives discovered gold in 1841, nothing came of it. Though gold was again discovered in 1844, a misinterpretation of the Spanish language led to the abandonment of the enterprise. Why would years of inactivity “suddenly” occur, and gold “officially” discovered on January 24, 1848 in the little town of Coloma, become so significant? Hopefully, this history lesson provides a hint as to what God may have had in mind.
America’s Quadracentennial provides a time when Americans of all persuasions can rejoice together that the seeds planted at her birth were of such quality as to bring forth the civil liberty we still enjoy today. Yet, those conducting the “commemoration” (one cannot say celebration these days) of America’s four hundredth birthday find it difficult to give honor to whom honor is due.
It is common today to view all the European settlements, especially Jamestown and Plymouth, as an invasion. Since we must come to conclusions based upon a bias of historic interpretations (all have such a bias), it may be important to highlight the biased assumptions of some of today’s historians.