Governor Bradford's Journal: History of Plymouth Plantation

First harvest (1621)

They began now to gather in the small harvest they had, and to fit up their houses and dwellings against winter, being all well recovered in health and strength and had all things in good plenty. For as some were thus employed in affairs abroad, others were exercised in fishing, about cod and bass and other fish, of which they took good store, of which every family had their portion. All the summer there was no want; and now began to come in store of fowl, as winter approached, of which this place did abound when they came first (but afterward decreased by degrees). And besides waterfowl there was a great store of wild turkeys, of which they took many, besides venison, etc. Besides they had about a peck a meal a week to a person, or now since harvest, Indian corn to the proportion. Which made many afterwards write so largely of their plenty here to their friends in England, which were not feigned but true reports.

Private and communal farming (1623)

All this while no supply was heard of, neither knew they when they might expect any. So they began to 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 advice of the chiefest amongst them) gave way that they should set corn every man for his own particular, and in that regard trust to themselves; in all other thing to go on in the general way as before. And so assigned to every family a parcel of land, according to the proportion of their 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 very 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.

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; and 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. For the young men, that were most able and fit for labor and service, did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men's wives and children without any recompense. The strong, or man of parts, had no more in division of victuals and clothes than he that was weak and not able to do a quarter the other could; this was thought injustice. The aged and graver men to be ranked and equalized in labors and victuals, clothes etc., with the meaner and younger sort, thought it some indignity and disrespect unto them. And for men's wives to be commanded to do service for other men, as dressing their meat, washing their clothes, etc., they deemed it a kind of slavery, neither could many husbands well brook it. Upon the point all being to have alike, and all to do alike, they thought themselves in the like condition, and one as good as another; and so, if it did not cut off those relations that God hath set amongst men, yet it did at least much diminish and take off the mutual respects that should be preserved amongst them. And would have been worse if they had been men of another condition. Let none object this is men's corruption, and nothing to the course itself. I answer, seeing all men have this corruption in them, God in His wisdom saw another course fitter for them.


William Bradford: History of Plymouth Plantation, c. 1650

Factiz that within the USA there is a serious struggle between conservative-capitalism and liberal-socialism.

Factiz that communism (state/govt ownership of property) was tried here in the USA in Colonial days starting the the colonies at Jamestown VA and Plymouth MA.

The Mayflower Pilgrims signed the Mayflower Compact which gave the govt ownership of all property including land, buildings, tools, and products. Whatever was produced, especially food, was placed into a commonwealth from which each man was to be given a full share for himself and his wife and a half-share for each child; single men were given only a full share for themselves.

Govt ownership of all property is communism regardless where or when it occurs or whatitiz called. 

Communism failed because individual incentives to work harder and smarter were not happening and as a result people produced only whatwuz needed to be proof that they deserved their share(s) of the commonwealth.

Gov Bradford and his counselors decided that more stuff could be produced if individuals owned all property including land, buildings, tools, and products. They gave to each single man and each family a plot of land and the right to own that land, the right to own buildings erected on that land, the right to own tools, and the right to own whateverwuz produced.

The result was, as Gov Bradford chronicled, that individuals began to work harder and smarter to produce new tools and new ways of farming, fishing and hunting, and there was thereby and therefore an increase in the production of stuffs with a resulting successful barter economy that was good for everyone.

And this was the beginning of capitalism in the Americas—conservative-capitalism.

This quote, ...

The experience that was had in this common course and condition [capitalism replacing communism], 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; and 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.

... is Gov Bradford's assertion of the fact that—to paraphrase using current political terms and phrases—capitalism worked better than communism, specifically that the concepts and relevant principles of the commonwealth/state ownership of property/communism did not work as well to efficiently produce more products as did capitalism/individual ownership of property is a stunning condemnation of communism.

This historical set of facts correlate to other historical facts including the rise of corruption in the govt of Ancient Rome when politicians learned that they could create an entitlement/welfare class of voters who would vote for them if they first created the entitlements and the resulting increase in taxes required for paying for the entitlements/welfare became so great the productive Romans either left the Roman state or otherwise did not support the Roman govt when Rome was attacked by the Huns with the result that the entitlement/welfare corruption was one of the reasons for the fall of the Roman Empire.

Political theorists (including Thomas Jefferson and Alexis de Tocqueville) have stated that there are two ways of destroying a country/nation: (1) Military Conquest—caused by invading armies; (2) Financial Ruin—caused by entitlement programs that eventually bankrupt country's/nation's treasury.

Factiz that with the increase in the number and expenses of entitlement programs the USA is headed for financial ruin.