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The Mayflower Compact (11 November 1620)

THE MAYFLOWER COMPACT (11 November 1620)


Dissatisfied with the Church of England, the Pilgrims, a group of poor, largely uneducated English religious separatists, had already relocated to Amsterdam and Leiden in Holland before deciding in 1617 to emigrate to the New World. On 16 September 1620, having secured an essential patent from the London Company, 102 passengers began their historic sixty-five-day voyage aboard a single ship, the 180-ton Mayflower. Originally intended by William Bradford and others to discourage the formation of splinter colonies, the Mayflower Compact, a church covenant modified for civic use, represents an early attempt to establish written laws in an American colony. It would become the foundation for the settlement's government.

Laura M.Miller,
Vanderbilt University

See also Colonial Charters ; Mayflower Compact ; Pilgrims ; Plymouth Colony .

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, &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 northern Parts of Virginia; Do by these Presents, solemnly and mutually in the Presence of God and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil 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 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 hereunto subscribed our names at Cape Cod the eleventh of November, in the Reign of our Sovereign Lord King James of England, France, and Ireland, the eighteenth and of Scotland, the fifty-fourth. Anno Domini, 1620

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

SOURCE: Cheever, George B., ed. The Journal of the Pilgrims at Plymouth in New England, in 1620, etc., etc., second ed. New York: J. Wiley, 1849.

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