The Mayflower Compact

November 11, 1620 (This was November 21, in the old calendar)

In the name of God, Amen. We, whose names are underwritten, the Loyal Subjects of our dread Sovereigne Lord, King James, by the Grace of God, of Great Britaine, France, and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, &c.

Having undertaken for the Glory of God, and Advancement of the Christian Faith, and the Honour of our King and Country, a Voyage to plant the first colony in the Northerne Parts of Virginia; doe, by these Presents, solemnly and mutually in the Presence of God and one of another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civill Body Politick, for our better Ordering and Preservation, and Furtherance of the Ends aforesaid; And by Virtue hereof do enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equall Laws, Ordinances, Acts, Constitutions, and Offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meete and convenient for the Generall Good of the Colonie; unto which we promise all due Submission and Obedience.

In Witness whereof we have hereunto subscribed our names at Cape Cod the eleventh of November, in the Raigne of our Sovereigne Lord, King James of England, France, and Ireland, the eighteenth, and of Scotland, the fiftie-fourth, Anno. Domini, 1620.

Mr. John Carver           Mr. Stephen Hopkins
Mr. William Bradford      Digery Priest
Mr. Edward Winslow        Thomas Williams
Mr. William Brewster      Gilbert Winslow
Isaac Allerton            Edmund Margesson
Miles Standish            Peter Brown
John Alden                Richard Bitteridge
John Turner               George Soule
Francis Eaton             Edward Tilly
James Chilton             John Tilly
John Craxton              Francis Cooke
John Billington           Thomas Rogers
Joses Fletcher            Thomas Tinker
John Goodman              John Ridgate
Mr. Samuel Fuller         Edward Fuller
Mr. Christopher Martin    Richard Clark
Mr. William Mullins       Richard Gardiner
Mr. William White         Mr. John Allerton
Mr. Richard Warren        Thomas English
John Howland              Edward Doten
Edward Liester

Alright, in Modern English, this means that the colonists were agreeing to form a government for the people, by the people, the first buds of democracy (before the House of Burgesses, anyway). The compact gave the settlers the power to frame and enact laws for the general good of the planned settlement.

The Mayflower Compact was signed in 1620 by Pilgrims, English people hoping to establish a settlement in North America. The agreement was completed on the ship Mayflower, which was anchored off the coast of Massachusetts.

Most of the Pilgrims were members of the Separatist congregation that had split from the Church of England. However, some were not, and these people sought independence from the Separatists. To prevent this, Separatist leaders wrote the compact, which was modeled after the covenant that had established their Separatist faith. Each male adult signed the document. The signers agreed to follow all "just and equal" laws that the settlers enacted and to be ruled by the will of the majority. Plymouth Colony did not receive an English royal charter, and so the compact determined governmental authority in the colony until it became part of the Massachusetts colony in 1691.

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