The letter I just sent to the editor of the New York Times:
In “The Party of Work,” (November 8) David Brooks begins thusly, ” The American colonies were first settled by Protestant dissenters.” First, the colonies of the United States were already settled when the Puritans arrived. In fact, there were native villages completely ravaged by disease from earlier European contact into which the Puritans happily settled. Second, if we ignore Native Americans (as Brooks has done) and focus only on the thirteen English colonies that became the US, Brooks forgot Virginia. The English settled it in 1607, over a decade before the Pilgrims arrived and well before John Winthrop sermonized about a “city on a hill” during his 1630 trans-Atlantic voyage on his way to settle the Massachusetts Bay colony. Even the Dutch in New Amsterdam arrived before the Puritans.
The first sentence of his piece is factually incorrect.
PhD Candidate in History at the University of Texas at Austin
I will say, there is plenty about Brooks’ piece that is factually incorrect (like that Protestant dissenters were all for “equal opportunity” – they owned slaves, man). But the NYT limits letters to 150 words so I focused only on that one sentence.