Religion: The Pilgrims: Unshakable Myth

Somewhere in the back of the collective American mind lies a quaint and engaging folk memory that surfaces once a year on Thanksgiving. The Pilgrims. Stouthearted, pious, gray-clad churchmen marching to their meetinghouse with bell-mouthed musket and faith in God. Brave Miles Standish. Gentle Priscilla. "Speak for Yourself John" Alden. The Mayflower Compact, that cornerstone of American democracy. Freedom of worship in a new world.

Myth, much of it, the creation of patriotic 19th century romantics. Yet the coming of the Pilgrims is being celebrated this year with particular fervor, for 1970 marks...

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