Paper, scissors, Plymouth Rock -- how did the Pilgrims turn second place into first?
With the fuss we make over Thanksgiving, I’d bet most
Americans believe the Pilgrims were the first nonnative American settlers in
And that narrative didn’t begin at Plymouth Rock.
The first permanent English settlement was in
So how did the Pilgrims, and not the folk of Jamestown, manage to get top billing, even though they showed up 13 years late to the party that became the United States of America (and about 35 years after the short-lived Roanoke Colony)?
Maybe it was demographics. The Pilgrims came with women and
children (and some nonbelievers); women didn’t come to the
Maybe it was class structure. The Pilgrims arrived with
indentured laborers, as did the
Maybe it was because, at the outset anyway, the Pilgrims evidently got on better with the native Americans than the Virginia colonists did (save for the renowned story of Pocahontas saving the life of Captain John Smith, for what that’s worth).
Maybe it was the motive for coming here in the first place,
at least motive through the lens of history.
Anyway, that’s my thinking. What’s yours? How did Bay State turkey
trump Virginia ham, and the Pilgrims trump the Virginians in history and imagination?
-- Patt Morrison