Before we leave Thanksgiving behind us for another year, let’s recall that one of the items brought to the New World on the Mayflower we believe was a printing press, a large iron piece of which was used to shore up a splitting beam on the voyage.
The Mayflower Compact was handwritten, but this replica of the 1669 printed copy shows the printing press was just as instrumental at founding, and preserving, an equitable nation as the bonds of commonwealth established by the Mayflower Compact.
This 1723 printing of the Thanksgiving proclamation by the Lieutnant Governour and His Majesty’s representative in Massachusetts Bay boldly ends with the typical flourish GOD Save the King. While the Pilgrims may not have quite gone along with that, they might have been still more amazed at the level of freedom which a free press achieved, and would continue to thrive in a democracy the likes of which they never conceived.
Today we are losing our newspapers with alarming rapidity, but communication continues in its myriad forms. Keeping an open mind rather than choosing to read only news which pleasures but does not challenge, and opinion in which we are already in agreement is the worst form of tyranny, because it is self imposed. We seem to need to re-learn that every once in a while through the centuries.
These printing press photos are from Sturbridge Village. Go have a look at the printer plying his trade.