The Mayflower Compact

the first self-governing document of the plymouth colony

What was it?

The Mayflower Compact was a signed agreement to ensure peace between the two groups carried by the Mayflower ship to America. It specified basic laws and social rules for the new colony and served as a foundation for the democratic structure of the settlers.

Signers of the Compact

Beginning with governor John Carver and ending with Edward Lester 41 men signed the compact, on the other hand, nine adult males on board did not sign it and the females were not allowed to by law.

The Significance of the Compact

The significance of the Mayflower Compact can be determined and assessed through the consideration of the following facts:

  • it was based on the concept of majority rule
  • it was the first known document that provided self-government in America
  • it was the first democratic government to be established in the colonies - The colonists agreed to choose their leaders and make their own laws which they agreed to follow
  • it stated that the adult males, not including servants, who settled at Plymouth, would have the right to vote on issues
  • its democratic concept of law made by and for the people
  • it expressed mutual regard for one another as equals in the sight of God
  • it is often cited as one of the foundations of the US Constitution setting a precedent as the foundational document for the Plymouth Colony