Why Was The Contractual Agreement Known As The Mayflower Compact Necessary

However, before they could start this new life, they had to solve some very practical problems. Their solution was to draft an agreement that later became known as the Mayflower Compact, which became a first in a consensual government, guaranteeing that everyone in the new colony would abide by the same laws. According to a list printed by Bradford`s nephew, Nathaniel Morton, in his 1669 New England`s Memorial pamphlet, 41 of the Mayflower`s adult male passengers signed the agreement, including two onboard staff. Shortly after signing, they elected John Carver as the first governor of the new colony, which they called Plymouth Plantation. In this sense, they set out to create a temporary set of laws to govern themselves according to the agreement of the majority. The agreement also drew on the centuries-old tradition of the social contract, the idea of alliances between peoples themselves, which dates back to antiquity but later became more famous thanks to philosophers such as Thomas Hobbes, John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. To face the reality that they would not be able to settle in the virginia treaty territory, they would “use their own freedom; for no one had the power to command them. To quell the conflict and preserve unity, the pilgrims` leaders (including William Bradford and William Brewster) designed the Mayflower Compact before disembarking. The short document (about 200 words) bound its signatories to a political body for the purpose of forming a government, obliging them to abide by all laws and regulations that would later be promulgated “for the common good of the colony.” The pact was signed by almost all adult male passengers of the Mayflower (41 passengers out of a total of 102), while the ship was anchored in the port of Provincetown.

His authority was immediately exercised when John Carver, who had helped organize the expedition, was elected governor of the new colony. Since the original version of the Mayflower Compact was lost, the earliest known source in which the text of the document (see below) can be found is Mourt`s Relation (1622), an account of the Plymouth Colony, written by Edward Winslow and William Bradford. The Mayflower Compact was not a constitution, but an adaptation of a Puritan Federation of Churches to a civil situation. Moreover, as a provisional instrument adopted exclusively by the settlers, the document did not resolve the issue of their dubious legal rights to the lands they inhabited. (A patent was finally obtained by the Council of New England in June 1621.) Nevertheless, the Mayflower Compact became the basis of the Plymouth government and remained in effect until the colony was incorporated into the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1691. .

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