As found in: Mourt’s Relation (1622)
The Mayflower Compact
With comments from: America's Freedom Documents (1999)
“This day before we come to harbor, observing that some were not well affected to unity and concord but gave appearance of faction, it was thought good that there should be an association and agreement, so that we should combine together in one body and submit to such government and governors as we should by common consent agree to make and choose. We therefore set our hands to this that follows word for word.
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 Faith, etc.
Having undertaken for the glory of God, and the 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 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 & 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 thereof we have hereunder subscribed our names at Cape Cod, the 11th of November, [New style-November 21] in the year of the reign of our sovereign Lord, King James, of England, France, and Ireland the 18th and of Scotland the 54th. Anno Domino 1620”
"This document was signed on November 11, 1620 (now November 21) aboard the ship Mayflower anchored off Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
The first political agreement for self-government in America. The Mayflower Compact bound the founders in a civil body politic to frame just and equal laws convenient for the general good of the colony.
It remained in force for 71 years until Plymouth was absorbed by the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1691.
The Compact was patterned after the Pilgrims' church covenant which gave authority to the members. It was thought necessary to take this course of action because they were about to settle in an area outside the jurisdiction of their patent issued by the Virginia Company of London, and because several passengers threatened to make their own rules once ashore.
The Pilgrim leaders persuaded forty-one of the male adults on board to sign the Mayflower Compact, and set up a government in Plymouth Colony. The agreement was designed to ensure order in the colony through laws made by the Pilgrims themselves or until their right of self-government could be established by a new company patent or royal charter."
America's Freedom Documents @1999 Thomas Publications Box 3031 Gettysburg, PA 17325