The Mayflower Compact
Recently, there was a theory called The 1619 Project which was created by by The New York Times Magazine in 2019 which “aims to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of [the United States’] national narrative”.In 1619, the first enslaved Africans in the Virginia colony. One issue of this concept is that although the Virginia Colony existed as a body, it did not exist under a body politic that would become the core for the formation of the United States of America. That honor goes to the year 1620.
After more than 65 days on a perilous, storm-tossed journey at sea, the Mayflower sighted land (Cape Cod) on November 9, 1620. They dropped anchor on November 11. In between, they produced a document to establish what historian Rebecca Fraser describes as “the first experiment in consensual government in Western history between individuals with one another, and not with a monarch.”
We recognize that 200-word statement today as the Mayflower Compact. Its quadricentennial should be noted and appreciated as the Godfather of all American Documents for Freedom.
The Mayflower Compact, however, had nothing directly to do with the State. It was a private contract between the men among the Pilgrims and the men among the other half of the passengers, called “strangers” by the Pilgrims because they were placed on the ship by the sponsors in Britain to provide necessary skills to help the new colony succeed. Compelled by circumstances (survival hung in the balance) to settle the issue one way or another, the passengers did the adult and civil thing. They put in writing a promise to each other to form a government of consent. Its laws would bind them all without religious or political discrimination.
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 advancement of the Christian Faith and 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 in 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 hereunder 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. Anno Domini 1620.
This document was founded on the premise of the Magna Carta and the basis of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. In short, the Words above can be considered the Bridge from the initial act of Freedom in Europe to the initial act of Freedom in the Western Hemisphere. An agreement that founded our Country based on God, the Law, and Civility. An agreement that looked out for the “general good of the Colony” and not for themselves individually. Finally, an agreement for just and equal laws to all present that preserved the diversity of character and required the tolerance of those differences. An amazing document written in 200 words and signed by all men on the Mayflower (women did not sign). I am proud to say that two of those that signed where Gilbert Winslow and Edward Winslow (the third Governor of Plymouth Colony). So if you need a Winslow to fight for your Rights and Freedoms give Goldfinch Winslow a call at 843-357-9301.