NEWS FROM THE CENTER FRIDAY DIGEST November 19 - The Pilgrims' Legacy

On November 11, 1620, the Pilgrims, along with others who came along for the journey, arrived on the Massachusetts shore after sailing across the Atlantic Ocean in a leaky and overcrowded ship rife with disease, with the hope of coming to a new world where they could freely practice their faith and exercise their rights of conscience.

Once they arrived in Massachusetts, the Pilgrims and others realized that they needed a system of government for their new home. They created the Mayflower Compact which recognized that people derived their right of self-government from God, and not man. It was the first attempt at self-government on the North American continent – an attempt that has now been successful for 400 years – and served as the basis for the religious liberty enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, and we continue to enjoy today.

The Mayflower Compact stated that the colonists would create and enact “laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions, and offices” that would allow the colony to thrive, and they would create one society and work with each other, rather than in opposition to each other, because faith informs good government for all.

At the commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the Pilgrims’ arrival at Plymouth, the orator Daniel Webster spoke of the great legacy given to all Americans by the Pilgrims, encouraging the Americans of that day to offer future Americans “some proof that we have endeavored to transmit the great inheritance unimpaired; that in our estimate of public principles and private virtue, in our veneration of religion and piety, in our devotion to civil and religion’s liberty, in our regard for whatever advances human knowledge or improves human happiness, we are not altogether unworthy of its origin.” 1

In fact, the principles that Webster describes, are exactly the ones put to paper by Thomas Jefferson and the signers of the Declaration of Independence, as Webster went on to talk about how the values of the Pilgrims were instrumental in laying the foundation upon which our nation was built. Those foundations were self-government, private property, Christian morals, industry, and religious liberty.

As we gather with our family and friends this Thanksgiving, let us give thanks for this legacy that the Pilgrims gave us. It is this legacy that we must always be thankful for and never forget if we are to remain the strongest and freest nation on earth.

 Timothy S. Goeglein is vice president of government and external relations at Focus on the Family in Washington, D.C.

1 Daniel Webster, “The Plymouth Oration,” December 22, 1820, *********** (Retrieved December 29, 2020)

Be Informed

What is the social impact of non-marital childbearing? A recent Issues, Etc. podcast with Tim Goeglein of Focus on the Family explains.

Be Equipped

As the weather turns cold and families cozy up on the couch to watch a movie together, check out this extensive list of pro-life, family-friendly movies to enjoy and discuss together!

Be Encouraged

“Hope for life is hope in Christ.” – LCMS Life Ministry

Help support our efforts to contend for the freedom to proclaim the faith. Click here to learn more or to donate.

Rate this item
(1 Vote)

Leave a comment

Make sure you enter all the required information, indicated by an asterisk (*). HTML code is not allowed.