The Mayflower Compact

The Mayflower Compact is known as a historic agreement created and signed by the new Settlers (the Pilgrims). In the end of 1620, over a hundred of the Pilgrims crossed the Atlantic on the ship Mayflower and arrived to the New World near Cape Cod, the coast of Massachusetts. They established a new colony there and, knowing that earlier settlements failed because of the absence of proper government and strong leadership, they signed the Mayflower Compact. Formally, this agreement was setting up the government of the colony and, by signing this document, the settlers declared their willingness to abide the rules and laws established by the government for the sake of survival of the colony.

The idea of creating and signing the Compact came from the belief in covenants. The Puritans of the Old World believed that covenants can also take place between man and man. At that, the Puritans had honored covenants as one of the key elements shaping their social behavior and attitude. Therefore, the Mayflower Compact must be considered as a covenant of equal laws and equal rights for the colonists, which provided for their social and civil equality, economic and religious freedom, and so on.

This document has a great historic meaning and significance. First of all, it was the first agreement enforced on American territories, which was declaring self-government. By signing the Mayflower Compact, the settlers established the tradition of social contract: a political concept that means giving up certain rights to the authorities (government) in order to maintain social order. However, the most important initiative was to originate the institution of government based on the consent of the governed.

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