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The True Meaning of Thanksgiving: Private Enterprise in America

By Richard Ebeling -- November 26, 2009

[Editor’s Note: Richard Ebeling, a noted classical liberal scholar, teaches economics at Northwood University in Midland, Michigan. This post is reprinted with his permission from Northwood’s blogsite, In Defense of Capitalism & Human Progress.]

This time of the year, whether in good economic times or bad, is when Americans gather with their families and friends and enjoy a Thanksgiving meal together. It marks a remembrance of those early Pilgrim Fathers who crossed the uncharted ocean from Europe to make a new start in Plymouth, Massachusetts. What is less appreciated is that Thanksgiving also is a celebration of the birth of free enterprise in America.

The English Puritans, who left Great Britain and sailed across the Atlantic on the Mayflower in 1620, were not only escaping from religious persecution in their homeland.…