Merry Christmas. Now get back to work.

As one of lord knows how many tens of thousands of direct descendants of William Bradford,–Pilgrim/Puritan; signatory to the Mayflower Compact (considered by many, one of the founding documents of modern democracy) and Governor of Plymouth Colony–I feel a responsibility to remind my dear readers of Governor Bradford’s views toward celebrating the birth of the Christian child savior.

Here is one description:

Christmas celebrations from the 1620’s to the 1850’s were culturally and legally suppressed and thus, virtually non-existent. The Puritan community found no Scriptural justification for celebrating Christmas, and associated such celebrations with paganism and idolatry.

That’s right, all ye Fox commentators, the very people who brought the US of A democracy and Thanksgiving aggressively opposed the celebration of Christmas, and were successful doing so for over 200 years!

That can’t possibly be true, say ye?  Let’s consult a 2012 article in the Wall Street Journal.

For the Pilgrims, Dec. 25 was a day just like any other. Christmas, they thought, was a “papist” invention… But a year later not everyone agreed. Some newly arrived colonists objected that “it went against their consciences to work” on Christmas. So Bradford grudgingly excused them “till they were better informed” and led the wiser, more veteran colonists away to work. Returning at noon, however, he was horrified to discover the newcomers “in the street at play, openly” engaged in various sports… The governor knew what he had to do. He confiscated their sports equipment, telling them that if they insisted on celebrating Christmas as a “matter of devotion” they could do so privately at home, “but there should be no gaming or reveling in the streets.” It was no isolated tantrum. A generation later, the colony formally outlawed Christmas for 22 years.

A 2011 article at HistoryOfMassachusetts.org puts it thusly:

When the puritans came over on the Mayflower in 1620, they brought with them their strict ways, their religious views and their distaste for Christmas. Although Christmas was widely celebrated in Europe as a Christian holiday marking the birth of Jesus Christ, puritans saw it as a false holiday with stronger ties to paganism than Christianity. As pious and reserved Christians, puritans also took a dislike to the drinking and dancing associated with the holiday… On May 11, 1659, the Massachusetts Bay Colony legislature even went so far as to officially ban Christmas and gave anyone found celebrating it a fine of five shillings.

Merry Christmas, y’all.

@WilHMoo

About Will H. Moore

I am a political science professor who also contributes to Political Violence @ a Glance and sometimes to Mobilizing Ideas . Twitter: @WilHMoo
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One Response to Merry Christmas. Now get back to work.

  1. Pingback: Public Notice to all Levels of Government in the United States | Will Opines

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