Mayflower Compact Introduction

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Mayflower Compact


The Pilgrims arrived at Massachusetts in 1620. Before disembarking, they signed a covenant that established a basis for self-government derived from the consent of the governed. Forty-one men signed the compact, agreeing to abide by the laws of the government. Women, who did not enjoy equal rights, were not asked to sign.

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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 [agree] and combine ourselves together into a civil body politick, for our better ordering and preservation, and furtherance [advancement] of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enacte, constitute [establish], and frame such just and equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions and offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet [suitable] 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, 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. 

Identify Cause and Effect  How do you think that having this compact might have affected the Pilgrims once they arrived in North America?

Analyze Interactions  What does the Mayflower Compact say about equality, and how might this view have influenced the system of government in the United States?

Analyze Interactions  How do you think the organization of the Pilgrims “together into a civil body politick” influenced later ideas about government in the United States?

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