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Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 25, 2005

Happy [late] Thanksgiving! I was going to post this last night; but we lost power and phone right as I was ready to send it. I did manage to save it, though...

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 England, France and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, e&. Having undertaken for the Glory of God, and Advancement of the Christian Faith, and the Honour 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 together into a civil Body Politick, 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 eleventh of November, in the Reign of our Sovereign Lord, King James of England, France and Ireland, the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth. Anno Domini, 1620.
History behind the Mayflower Compact
The Mayflower Compact was signed on 11 November, 1620, on board the Mayflower which was at anchor in Provincetown Harbor. The Mayflower Compact was drawn up after the London and Leyden contingents started factionalizing, and there were worries of a possible mutiny by some of the passengers.
The primary argument was over the fact the Pilgrims were supposed to have settled in Northern Virginia, near present-day Long Island, New York. Northern Virginia was governed by the English. But if the Pilgrims settled at Plymouth, there would be no government in place there. The Mayflower Compact established that government, by creating a "civil body politic". In a way, this was the first American Constitution, though the Compact in practical terms had little influence on subsequent American documents. John Quincy Adams, a descendant of Mayflower passenger John Alden, does call the Mayflower Compact the foundation of the U.S. Constitution in a speech given in 1802, but he meant in principle more than in substance. In reality, the Mayflower Compact was superseded in authority by the 1621 Peirce Patent, which not only gave the Pilgrims the right to self-government at Plymouth, but had the significant advantage of being authorized by the King of England.


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