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What is the Mayflower anniversary? Tom Cotton blames 1619 Project for erasing 400th anniversary from history

'Revisionist charlatans of the radical left have previously claimed the previous year as America’s true founding. Maybe the politically correct editors of the debunked 1619 Project are now responsible,' the GOP senator said
Tom Cotton (Getty Images)
Tom Cotton (Getty Images)

Republican senator Tom Cotton criticized The New York Times' 1619 project for trying to rewrite history following a lack of events to mark the Mayflower's 400th anniversary. On Wednesday, November 18, in a speech to the Senate he attacked the project. Later, on Saturday, November 21, he wrote an opinion piece for Fox News.

As per the Daily Mail, in his speech to the Senate he had said: “There appear to be few commemorations, parades or festivals to celebrate the Pilgrims this year, perhaps in part because revisionist charlatans of the radical left have previously claimed the previous year as America’s true founding. Maybe the politically correct editors of the debunked 1619 Project are now responsible for pumpkin pie recipes at the Times as well.” The NYT article that Cotton was referring to had the headline ‘The Thanksgiving Myth Gets a Deeper Look This Year’. In a following sub-head/summary, the article mentions, “For many Native Americans, the Covid-19 toll and the struggle over racial inequity make this high time to re-examine the holiday, and a cruel history.”

Cotton in his essay for Fox News wrote: “We are marking a great American anniversary this month. In November 1620 a battered old ship called the Mayflower arrived in the waters off Cape Cod in what is now the state of Massachusetts. The passengers aboard the Mayflower were our nation’s first founders — or, as Daniel Webster called them, 'Our Pilgrim Fathers'.” He continued, “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.”

He further stated, “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.”

History of The Mayflower

According to, in September 1620, a merchant ship named the Mayflower started its journey from Plymouth, a port on the southern coast of England. Normally, the Mayflower’s cargo comprised wine and dry goods, but on this trip the ship carried 102 passengers, who had the desire to start a new life on the other side of the Atlantic. The website states nearly 40 of these passengers were Protestant Separatists–they called themselves ‘Saints’–who hoped to establish a new church in the New World. Today, the colonists who crossed the Atlantic on the Mayflower are often referred to as ‘Pilgrims’.

Britannica notes that among the Mayflower’s most-distinguished voyagers were William Bradford and Captain Myles Standish. The website says that after a 66-day voyage, it first landed on Cape Cod, what is now Provincetown, Massachusetts. says, in order to establish themselves as a legitimate colony (‘Plymouth’, named after the English port from which they had departed), a document called the Mayflower Compact was drafted. This Compact vowed to create a “civil Body Politick” governed by elected officials and “just and equal laws.” As per the article, it was the first document to establish self-government in the New World and this attempt at democracy created the stage for future colonists seeking independence from the British.

The replica ship Mayflower II under sail on its way back to Plymouth Harbor after being rehabbed in Connecticut for the past three years on August 10, 2020 in Plymouth, Massachusetts. This year marks the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims landing in Massachusetts. (Getty Images)

The Daily Mail article states, many events had been planned by Plymouth 400, Inc, a nonprofit in charge of organizing celebratory programs, before being postponed to 2021 due to the pandemic. The renovation and subsequent trans-Atlantic voyage of the Mayflower II, a replica of the 17th-century ship, has also been delayed until next year. The vessel had returned to Plymouth in August following extensive renovations.

These remarks were made by third-person and individual organizations, MEAWW cannot confirm them independently nor does it support these claims. The respective references are linked in the article.