"The experience that was had in ... the taking away of private property, and the possession of it in community, by a commonwealth ... was found to breed much confusion and discontent; and retard much employment which would have been to the general benefit.... For the young men that were most able and fit for labor and service objected that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men's wives and children, without any recompense.... The strong man or the resourceful man had no more share of food, clothes, etc., than the weak man who was not able to do a quarter the other could; this was thought injustice. The aged and graver men, who were ranked and equalized in labor, food, clothes, etc., with the meaner and younger ones, thought it some indignity and disrespect to them."
by:
William Bradford
(c.1590-1657) American colonist, helped found the Plymouth Colony, signatory to the Mayflower Compact, served as Plymouth Colony Governor
Date:
1623
Source:
Bradford's History of Plymouth Plantation, 1606-1646.
http://mith.umd.edu/eada/html/display.php?docs=bradford_history.xml
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Reader comments about this quote:
I'm not quite sure how to rate this direct relative's quote. Sufficiently accurate in his observance of nature's expressions but, do I give it a 5 stars for accuracy or a thumb's down for what collectivism has done to a once beacon of liberty.
 -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    The noble William Bradford's perception of Reality was informed by Providential Reason, and tempered by humility.

    He and his enlightened fellows, utterly unlike contemporary, bound by ideology, pragmatic collectivists, were motivated to apply, and were capable of applying the lessons of experience.

    I too, Mike, am one of his direct descendants.
     -- Patrick Henry, Red Hill     
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    Patrick Henry, Red Hill - Hey cuz ;-)
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    I give it 5 stars in thanks for Bradford documenting the experience. I read the whole journal, and Bradford explains the very good intentions used for the voluntary communal arrangement.

    "The experience that was had in this common course and condition, tried sundry years, and that among godly and sober men, may well evince the vanity of that conceit of Plato and other ancients, applauded by some of later times; -that the taking away of property, and bringing in community into a common wealth, would make them happy and flourishing; as if they were wiser than God."

    But as Bradford explains later in the journal, "After this course settled" and after many trials, tribulations and prayers, the community finally prospered. Bradford notes:

    "Yet let me here make use of [the Lord's] conclusion, which in some sort may be applied to this people: That with their miseries they opened a way to these new-lands; and after these storms, with what ease other men come to inhabit in them, in respect of the calamities these men suffered; so as they seem to go to a fish feast where all things are provided for them."

    That's capitalism.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    Through every day workings we find the presence of Divine Providence. Slavery is never liberty. I give it five stars for that simple fact !
     -- Ronw13, Oregon     
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