VDARE.com readers may recall that in April 2015 I successfully predicted that Donald Trump would run for President as an immigration patriot [For Better Or Worse, Donald Trump May Be The Only Immigration Patriot Running For President In 2016]. VDARE.com Editor Peter Brimelow was skeptical (though, to his credit, he published it anyway). So it’s now time for my 2020 election prediction: The 400th Anniversary of the 1620 Mayflower Voyage will dominate the campaign. If Trump is smart and follows his instincts, he will unabashedly defend the Mayflower Pilgrims. And he will be (not necessarily smoothly) reelected.
In 2019, there was considerable talk over the War on Thanksgiving, which remains, of course, very real. However, lost in our spirited defense of Thanksgiving was the realization that the 2020 Election will coincide with the 400th Anniversary of the landing at Plymouth. Naturally, it’s not hard to see how this might all play out. Those who love this country will want to celebrate this anniversary. Those who loathe it will obnoxiously denigrate it.
It may seem hard to believe now, but for most of our history Americans actually took tremendous pride in the Mayflower voyage to Plymouth, and for good reason. The entire endeavor was an extraordinary display of courage, perseverance, and the pioneering spirit that has embodied the Historic American Nation.
For those who need a brief brush-up: The Mayflower passengers were a group of English Separatists (or Puritans) who were convinced that the Church of England had become corrupt. They therefore believed that God had called them to journey across the Atlantic to build a new community in America.
The Mayflower departed Plymouth, England on September 6, 1620 with approximately 102 passengers, 30 crew, and two dogs (Nathaniel Philbrick’s Mayflower is the book to read). However, unlike the earlier settlers in Jamestown, who consisted mostly of noblemen, seamen, and craftsmen, the Mayflower passengers largely consisted of families.
It was a tiny ship whose living quarters were a series of cramped rooms with ceilings so low that most adults had to bend the knees and hunch when they walked through it. The 65-day voyage across the Atlantic was harrowing, resulting in two deaths. The main support beam cracked during a storm and had to be supported with a screw jack. One indentured servant, John Howland, fell overboard and miraculously survived by clinging to a rope. Three women boarded the ship pregnant and two successfully gave birth on board.
Although the Pilgrims aimed for the Hudson River, the storm-battered ship arrived in what is now Provincetown Harbor on November 11, 1620. There they reaffirmed their loyalty to the British Crown by signing the Mayflower Compact, and agreed to settle the land as a British colony. They then sailed west along the curled arm of Cape Cod until they found a natural harbor with clean water and arable land necessary to build the settlement which became known as Plymouth.
However, that first winter in Plymouth was grueling. The Puritans divided their time between the Mayflower and a 20 foot square common home that they quickly constructed on land. Forty-five passengers died of fever, dysentery, and pneumonia, leaving many widows and orphans.
In the spring the surviving Puritans began to gradually develop the settlement that within a generation grew into a flourishing community—a community that made the further settling of the New World possible.
Naturally, during the time when the United States was still a genuine nation, we commonly expressed both pride and gratitude for the Mayflower Pilgrims. In fact, even those of us who (like me) do not directly descend from the Pilgrims consider them our forefathers.
In 1859, the town of Plymouth laid the cornerstone for the National Monument of the Forefathers (which was completed in 1889). It was paid for with private contributions, including a $10 contribution from Abraham Lincoln, and it remains the largest granite monument in the world.
In 1907, President Theodore Roosevelt (who also had no English blood) laid the cornerstone of the iconic Pilgrim Monument in Provincetown where the Pilgrims first set foot on land. In his speech, Roosevelt affirmed the Pilgrims not as immigrants, but as settlers to whom all those who subsequently immigrated to America remain deeply indebted.
The coming hither of the Puritans three centuries ago shaped the destinies of this continent, and therefore profoundly affected the destiny of the whole world. Men of other races, the Frenchman and the Spaniard, the Dutchman, the Germans, the Scotsman and the Swede, made settlements within what is now the United States during the Colonial period of our history and before the Declaration of Independence. Since then there has been an ever-swelling immigration from Ireland and from the mainland of Europe; but it is the Englishman who settled in Virginia and the Englishman who settled in Massachusetts who did most in shaping the lines of our national development.
We cannot as a nation be too profoundly grateful for the fact that the Puritan has stamped his influence so deeply on our national life. We need have scant patience with the men who now rail at the Puritan’s faults.
Here, Roosevelt anticipates the distinction that Samuel Huntington makes between settlers and immigrants in Who Are We? (2004). There is a qualitative difference between those who settled the country and those who later immigrated to it. We are, therefore, not a “nation of immigrants” where the wetback who swam the Rio Grande yesterday is somehow equal to the Pilgrim who settled Plymouth 400 years ago.
Interestingly, Roosevelt also acknowledges a growing oikophobic antipathy toward the Puritans, which perhaps began with Brooks Adams’s (great-grandson of John Adams) publication of The Emancipation of Massachusetts in 1887 (emancipation, that is, from Puritan influence), which initiated the academic trend of Christophobic condescension toward our Puritan forefathers.
True, some Old-School Wasp Historians like Samuel Eliot Morison and Edmund S. Morgan have echoed Roosevelt and criticized this snobbish portrayal of the Puritans as benighted simpletons, but to little avail. By the middle of the Twentieth Century, it became fashionable to disparage the Puritans as parochial philistines, if not genocidal bigots.
Since 1970, Native American and Leftist activists have held an annual National Day of Mourning every Thanksgiving to protest the alleged “genocide” of the Indians on Cole’s Hill in Plymouth where all of the men, women, and children who died that first winter were buried in a common grave. I’ve even heard that the protestors sometimes urinate and defecate on the gravesite. The in absentia leader of the event is Indian activist Leonard Peltier, who remains in prison for having murdered two FBI agents at point blank range in 1974.
However, the reality is that those who denigrate the Pilgrims do so not because of their alleged vices, but because of their undeniable virtues: white, Christian, self-reliant, and extraordinarily courageous.
This year there are many events scheduled to commemorate the anniversary of the Mayflower Voyage in both Plymouth and England (Believe it or not, Britain once took great pride in the Pilgrims too). Naturally, many mainstream pundits will be triggered by the all-the-too white celebrations on either side of the Atlantic. Antifa will be in overdrive assaulting all the participants. It will be nasty--so nasty that I think the celebrations could produce another Charlottesville.
However, all of this vitriolic foaming at the mouth could play right into President Trump’s hands. If Donald Trump unapologetically defends the Mayflower Pilgrims the same way he stuck up for the National Anthem when NFL athletes began trashing it, then the voters will rally to his side, and the Democrats will further expose themselves as the rabidly anti-white misanthropes they truly are.
This promises to be a monumental election. Of course, people say that every election, but this year it’s really true because we have a unique opportunity to discuss where the country is headed in the context of how it all began.
It, therefore, seems fitting that we should acknowledge the heroic contributions of the Mayflower Pilgrims during this election as their posterity have become so openly despised in the very land they settled.
We are all Pilgrims now.
Matthew Richer (email him) is a writer living in Massachusetts. He is the former American Editor of Right NOW magazine.