The Mayflower Compact was an agreement of the passengers aboard a ship called The Mayflower in 1620. The Pilgrims traveled from England to America with many other people who were not a part of their group.
Bad weather prevented the Mayflower from arriving at the desired location. Because winter was approaching and supplies were running low, they decided to stay at their current location in Massachusetts instead. After it was determined that they were not going to arrive at the appropriate location, in Virginia, many passengers that were not apart of the Pilgrim group decided they would leave and go about their own business. Some were quoted in saying, “That when they came ashore they would use their own liberty; for none had power to command them…”
The New World was a harsh environment in the winter and the passengers faced many hardships. If the group was divided because many decided to leave, it would make survival much more difficult. To prevent the group from splitting they all agreed to sign a compact, or a contract, which stated they all agree to follow any and all future laws the grouped came up with.
41 men, of the 101 total passengers signed the Mayflower Compact.
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.