Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Mayflower Compact

The Mayflower Compact is a written agreement composed by a consensus of the new Settlers arriving at New Plymouth in November of 1620. They had traveled across the ocean on the ship Mayflower which was anchored in what is now Provincetown Harbor near Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The Mayflower Compact was drawn up with fair and equal laws, for the general good of the settlement and with the will of the majority. The Mayflower’s passengers knew that the New World’s earlier settlers failed due to a lack of government. They hashed out the content and eventually composed the Compact for the sake of their own survival.

All 41 of the adult male members on the Mayflower signed the Compact. Being the first written laws for the new land, the Compact determined authority within the settlement and was the observed as such until 1691. This established that the colony (mostly persecuted Separatists), was to be free of English law. It was devised to set up a government from within themselves and was written by those to be governed.

In the name of God, Amen. We whose names are under-written, the loyal subjects of our dread sovereign Lord, King James, by the grace of God, of Great Britain, France, and Ireland King, Defender of the Faith, etc.

Having undertaken, for the glory of God, and advancement of the Christian faith, and honor of our King and Country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the northern parts of Virginia, do by these presents solemnly and mutually, in the presence of God, and one of another, covenant and combine our selves together into a civil body politic, for our better ordering and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enact, constitute, and frame such just and equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions and offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the Colony, unto which we promise all due submission and obedience. In witness whereof we have hereunder subscribed our names at Cape Cod, the eleventh of November [New Style, November 21], in the year of the reign of our sovereign lord, King James, of England, France, and Ireland, the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth. Anno Dom. 1620.


John Carver
William Bradford
Edward Winslow
William Brewster
Isaac Allerton
Miles Standish
John Alden
Samuel Fuller
Christopher Martin
William Mullins
William White
James Chilton
John Craxton
John Billington
Richard Warren
John Howland
Steven Hopkins
Edward Tilly
John Tilly
Francis Cook
Thomas Rogers
Thomas Tinker
John Rigdale
Edward Fuller
John Turner
Francis Eaton
Moses Fletcher
Digery Priest
Thomas Williams
Gilbert Winslow
Edmond Margeson
Peter Brown
Richard Bitteridge
Richard Clark
Richard Gardiner
John Allerton
Thomas English
Edward Doten
Edward Liester
John Goodman
George Soule
When creating the Mayflower Compact, the signers believed that covenants were not only to be honored between God and man, but also between each other. They had always honored covenants as part of their righteous integrity and agreed to be bound by this same principle with the Compact. John Adams and many historians have referred to the Mayflower Compact as the foundation of the U.S. Constitution written more than 150 later.

This is part of the Founding Documents series.


Storm'n Norm'n said...

Thanks for posting brings back a few memories.

Seeing John Alden's name among the signers (of course I already knew that from earlier history clases) reminds me of the time my wife and I were on a Sunday drive along the coast of Massachusetts. After leaving Plymouth we headed up towards Duxbury a town I've visited only once some years ago. It's always a pleasure to witness the clammers in Duxbury...waist deep in the water (when the tide is just right) scooping up clams from inner bay. It was still early in the afternoon so we decided to scout of the off the beaten path of the tourists and other Sunday drivers. With that said, the first road I turned down there was a cemetary just off to the right. Noting the old headstones we decided to explore...
and there it was...the very first stone I read, "Mr. John Alden". If I remember right he was in his 80's when he died. Not far away was another grave stone, a liitle more difficult to read, was his wife Priscilla.
Meanwhile, I think America needs another Mayflower Compact with a slight variation in the first line of the second paragraph, "Having undertaken, for the glory of God, and advancement of the Christian faith, and honor of American Heritage..."


Anonymous said...

Not all the names that is on the mayflower compact.

Storm'n Norm'n said...

I should have added that the Masyflower Compact was the first attempt at Socialism but because it was among themselves, themselves figured it out. When the takers were not producing their fair share the the givers decided it was more efficient to produce for oneself and therefor lies the beginning of American individualism. Barter and trade among themselves worked out pretty good and they soon learned that capitalism was well worth the effort.
My friend over at Politics Alabama puts it in other words