On this day in 1620, the Pilgrims signed the Mayflower Compact. This was their way of creating a government to inflict their religious views on everyone, because they didn’t land where they were supposed to. And it was largely due to their religious intolerance that Massachusetts remained a backwater compared to more liberal places like Pennsylvania. It is funny that we still teach our children about the Plymouth Colony when there were several that were before it. And the Dutch settled in Pennsylvania shortly afterward, where things ran much more in keeping with what we now think of as American ideals.
But I bring it up because Wikipedia claims, “They were fleeing from religious persecution by King James of England.” Well, kind of. They fled persecution and went to Holland where they were free of persecution. Then they went back to England for cultural reasons and then left for America. The real issue is that they wanted freedom for their religion and persecution for everyone else’s. Within two generations, these great religious seekers passed the first punitive law against Quakers. Religious freedom my dull fleshy ass!