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The Mayflower Compact

The Mayflower Compact

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The Mayflower Compact

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  1. The Mayflower Compact Foundation Stone of American Liberty

  2. Reasons for the Compact • Mayflower originally bound for Hudson River • Instead, Mayflower landed to the north, near Cape Cod – belonged to another government (1)(2)(3) • Some of the “strangers” (not part of the religious community) wanted to proclaim their own liberty (2)(3)(8) • To prevent this anarchy, many of the other colonists decided to establish a government (2)(4)(9)

  3. Reasons for the Compact • Compact is based upon majority rule (even though signers were not in the majority) and the settler’s allegiance to the king (2)(3)(8) • Mayflower’s passengers knew that the earlier settlements failed due to a lack of government • Compact was composed for the sake of their own survival (8)

  4. Signing • Forty-one male passengers composed a written document, signed on November 21, 1620, 10 days after land is sighted on November 11th – (Gregorian calendar)(3)(4)(7)(10) • Remained the Constitution of the Colony until Plymouth was merged in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1692 by order of King William and Queen Mary (3)(5)(8)

  5. Signers • Would you sign the Mayflower Compact?

  6. Original Document was lost, but Bradford’s hand-written manuscript is kept in a special vault at the State Library of Massachusetts

  7. Those who didn’t sign (6) • Of the 73 men listed on the Mayflower, 32 did not sign. Of them: • 23 were minors: in the care of their parents • 2 were contracted seaman: and therefore controlled by their contract and not the Compact • 7 were servants: subject to the terms of their contracts with their respective masters

  8. Re-enactment of Signers

  9. Those who did sign • All 41 of the adult male members on the Mayflower signed the Compact (6) • The Compact determined authority within the settlement and was the observed “law” until ??? (8) • Later governments in the colony developed out of the compact (10) • It established that the colony was to be free of English law (11)

  10. Founded on the words of the Bible • Signers believed that covenants were not only to be honored between God and man, but also between each other • Part of their righteous integrity bound them to abide by the Compact • These colonists honored God and set their founding principles by the words of the Bible

  11. Actual Signatures

  12. Edmund Burke (1729-1794) • Author and leader in Great Britain, defended the colonies in Parliament • “There is but one law for all, namely, that law which governs all law, the law of the Creator

  13. Patrick Henry (1736-1799) • Five-time Governor of Virginia (Give me liberty or give me death) • It cannot be emphasized too strongly, nor too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ…

  14. Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826) • Third US President, chosen to write the Declaration of Independence • “I have little doubt that the whole country will soon be rallied to the unity of our Creator, and, I hope, to the pure doctrines of Jesus also.” Jefferson proclaimed that it was the God of the Bible who founded America in his 1805 inaugural address: “I shall need, too, the favor of that being in whose hands we are, who led our forefathers, as Israel of old, from their native land and planted them in this country.”

  15. John Quincy Adams • Calls the Mayflower Compact the foundation of the US Constitution in a speech given in 1802 (7) (10) • In reality, the Compact was superseded in authority by the 1621 Peirce patent, which gave the Pilgrims the right to self-government at Plymouth, and was authorized by the King (8)

  16. The Text • Dread Sovereign Lord King James – dread sovereign meant awe and reverence to the King, not fear • Although the Compact did not actually set up a government, it expressed that the people were willing to show due submission to “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.” (9)

  17. Governor • Upon completion of the Compact, one man was elected to act and speak on behalf of the whole company. John Carver was to be their governor. The Pilgrims became the first colonists in the history of the world to name a colonial governor by free election (8)(10)

  18. Contribution to Democracy • From the beginning in Plymouth, self-government evolved into town meetings of New England and larger local governments in colonial America(12)(13)(14) • By the time of the Constitutional Convention, the Mayflower Company had been nearly forgotten, but the powerful idea of self-government had not (12)(14) • Born out of necessity on the Mayflower, the Compact made a significant contribution to the creation of a new democratic nation (12)(13)(14)

  19. Signers • Would you sign the Mayflower Compact?