Briana Coins

Mayflower Compact


The Mayflower Compact was the first of many agreements by which groups of New British established civil governments. The Mayflower Compact was the first governing document of Plymouth Colony. It was written by separatist Congregationalists. The Mayflower Compact was composed by William Brewster and was signed by nearly all the adult male colonists, including two of the indentured servants. Later they were referred to as Pilgrims. They were fleeing from religious persecution by King James of England. It was a social contract as an example of government. Written in Province town Harbor, Massachusetts November 11th, 1620 due to the fact that when they first landed some members refused to recognize legal authority.

Impact on the development of the U.S. Government

The format of the Mayflower Compact is very similar to the written agreements used by the Pilgrims to establish their Separatist churches in England and Holland. Under these agreements the male adult members of each church decided how to worship God. They also elected their own ministers and other church officers. This pattern of church self-government served as a model for political self-government in the Mayflower Compact. The colonists had no intention of declaring their independence from England when they signed the Mayflower Compact. In the opening line of the Compact, both Pilgrims and "Strangers" refer to themselves as "loyal subjects" of King James. The rest of the Mayflower Compact is very short. It simply bound the signers into a "Civil Body Politic" for the purpose of passing "just and equal Laws . . . for the general good of the Colony." But those few words expressed the idea of self-government for the first time in the New World.


Bradford, William. Of Plymouth Plantation. Samuel Eliot Morison, ed. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1952.

Donovan, Frank R. The Mayflower Compact. New York: Grosset &

Dunlap, 1968.

DELANEY, E. "Mayflower Compact." New Catholic Encyclopedia. 2nd ed. Vol. 9. Detroit: Gale, 2003. 382. World History in Context. Web. 25 Sept. 2015.,_1620.jpg