Mayflower Compact

The journey had been long and turbulent, but after sixty-six days at sea, land was finally spotted.

The relief that must have been felt on November 9, 1620 when present day Cape Cod, came into view.

Several days were spent trying to sail south to their planned destination at the Colony of Virginia, where they had obtained permission to settle from the Company of Merchant Adventurers. The strong winter sea prevented the trip and they returned to the harbor at Cape Cod, anchoring on the hook on November 11.

Signing the Mayflower Compact 1620, a painting by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris 1899

The Mayflower was docked off of Cape Code, unable to land at the mouth of the Hudson in Virginia, as they had agreed.
The men wanted to go ashore to build a colony, but first, they had to come to an agreement.
They were no longer bound by previous agreements as set up for the colony of Virginia.
The men gathered together to make a new agreement between them.
After all, those from the Separatists settlement were there for religious reasons and considered themselves First Comers or Saints. While the businessmen and adventurers on board were considered Strangers. Both groups are today considered the Pilgrim Fathers.
Technically, these colonists had no right to be at this location.
This led some of the strangers to proclaim, they “would use their own liberty; for none had the power to command them.”
Now the time had come to establish a legitimate colony and establish a government.
“This Compact promised to create a “civil Body Politick” governed by elected officials and “just and equal laws.” It also swore allegiance to the English king.” This social contract was written and signed by 41 Separatist men. It was modeled on the church covenants that Congregationalists used to form new congregations. It made clear that the colony should be governed by “just and equal laws,” and those who signed it promised to keep these laws.

copy of The Mayflower Compact

The compact was signed using the Old Style Julian Calendar {which was eleven days behind the Gregorian Calendar}. {Note the Gregorian Calendar was not adopted in England until 1752.}
The settlers named the place where they anchored, New Plimoth or Plimouth, named after Plymouth, England, where they set sail. At this time dictionaries did not exist and various spellings were used.
Forty-one men gathered around to sign the document. Women were not given a right to vote or sign the compact.

From Wikipedia: The Mayflower Compact {in Modern English}

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 advancements 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 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 hereunto subscribed our names at Cape Cod the 11th 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, 1620


The following men signed the document:
John Carver
William Bradford

John Alden

Edward Winslow
William Brewster
Isaac Allerton
Myles Standish
John Alden
Samuel Fuller
Christopher Martin
William Mullins
William White
Richard Warren
John Howland
Stephen Hopkins

Edward Winslow

Edward Tilley
John Tilley
Francis Cooke

William Bradford

Thomas Rogers
Thomas Tinker
John Rigsdale
Edward Fuller
John Turner
Francis Eaton
James Chilton
John Crackstone
John Billington
Moses Fletcher
John Goodman
Degory Priest
Thomas Williams
Gilbert Winslow
Edmund Margesson
Peter Browne
Richard Britteridge

Myles Standish

George Soule

William Brewster

Richard Clarke
Richard Gardiner
John Allerton
Thomas English
Edward Doty
Edward Leister

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