Saturday, November 8, 2014

The Mayflower Compact

The Mayflower Compact was the first governing document of the colony at Plymouth. It was signed by most adult men of the colony on November 11, 1620 (Julian Calendar; November 20 by the Georgian Calendar). The original no longer exists, but three copies from the 17th century do exist, all with very similar wording, varying primarily in capitalization, punctuation, and spelling). 

The Mayflower Compact was not a constitution - it did not establish a representative government, nor outline any government functions - but rather was a written agreement among the colonists to work together in a civil manner to enact just laws and govern themselves. The importance of the Mayflower Compact is that it came from the will of the people themselves, and not imposed on them by a Sovereign, royal governor, or other external authority. 

The Mayflower Compact

In the Name of God, Amen.  We whose names are underwritten, 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 ourselves 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 11 of November, 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.  Ano.  Dom. 1620.

John Carver                Edward Tilley            Digery Priest
William Bradford       John Tilley                 Thomas Williams
Edward Winslow        Francis Cooke           Gilbert Winslow
William Brewster       Thomas Rogers          Edmund Margeson
Isaac Allerton             Thomas Tinker           Peter Browne
Miles Standish            John Ridgdale            Richard Britteridge
John Alden                  Edward Fuller            George Soule
Samuel Fuller              John Turner               Richard Clarke
Christopher Martin      Francis Eaton            Richard Gardiner
William Mullins          James Chilton            John Allerton
William White             John Crackstone        Thomas English
Richard Warren           John Billington          Edward Doty
John Howland              Moses Fletcher          Edward Leister
Stephen Hopkins          John Goodman

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