American author and humorist, Mark Twain, once remarked:
"Thanksgiving Day, a function which originated in New England two or three centuries ago when those people recognized that they really had something to be thankful for - annually, not oftener - if they had succeeded in exterminating their neighbors, the Indians, during the previous twelve months instead of getting exterminated by their neighbors, the Indians. Thanksgiving Day became a habit, for the reason that in the course of time, as the years drifted on, it was perceived that the exterminating had ceased to be mutual and was all on the white man's side, consequently on the Lord's side; hence it was proper to thank the Lord for it and extend the usual annual compliments."
Is Twain's cynicism---while dating to the 19th century, justified?
I'm wondering if this is part of a satirical essay. I confess that I'm not familiar with this quote.
My understanding is that if it weren't for the Indians' help during those early years, the Pilgrims would not have survived at all. The elements--not the Indian--posed the biggest problems for the settlers.
The reason for Thanksgiving is in gratitude for bountiful crop harvests--not in gratitude to the Lord for exterminating the Indians.
So, no--there's no ground for justifying Twain's quote whatsoever in my mind. ~
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