Tom Cotton Defends Historical Legacy of Pilgrims on 400th Anniversary of 1620, Slams Revisionism of the Cultural Left

Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas defended the legacy of the American Pilgrims in both a Senate speech and a Fox News op-ed published over the weekend, lamenting that the memory of the settlers of the 13 colonies that became the United States has largely been forgotten by common American culture and the nation’s institutions.

Cotton called out the New York Times’ revisionist 1619 Project’s defamation of the settlers, which ascribes the “true” founding of the United States to the year the first enslaved African arrived in the New World.

November 21st, 2020 represents the 400th Anniversary of the arrival of English pilgrims in what would become the Massachusetts Bay Colony. The date has passed with little fanfare, with the legacy of some of the first English-speaking peoples to arrive in the New World largely forgotten, ignored or slighted. Cultural liberals and academia mostly regard inquiry or celebration of the pilgrims as “racist.”

In a Fox News op-ed piece on the historical anniversary, Cotton defended the legacy of the pilgrims and pointed out that many elements of American society and governance originate from their culture and customs.

Regrettably, we haven’t heard much about this year’s anniversary because the Pilgrims have fallen out of fashion in elite circles. 

Just this week, The New York Times food section published an article that called the Pilgrim story, including the First Thanksgiving, a “myth” and a “caricature.” In place of these so-called “myths,” the liberal newspaper seeks to substitute its own, claiming the history of our nation is an unbroken tale of conflict, oppression and misery. 

But that’s a lie about our country and its founders. No matter what the revisionist historians at the Times cook up, the truth about the Pilgrims is more remarkable than any story or holiday special. This Thanksgiving, it’s worth reflecting on why we celebrate the Pilgrims and their living legacy for our nation.

People of varied cultural backgrounds have since immigrated to the United States and made rich contributions to the prosperity of the nation, but few have risked all to built a civilization from scratch in the wilderness of an unknown continent before the Puritans did. All Americans should honor their memory.

Cotton also spoke on the Senate floor to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the pilgrims’ arrival in the New World.