Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The Mayflower Compact, Four Centuries On

 

Just received this note from a well-read and perceptive friend:

Don’t want to let the day slip away without noting that today marks the 400th anniversary of the signing of the Mayflower Compact.

Yes, the Virginians got here first, and were allowed to establish a representative assembly 401 years ago. But from the start, the Virginia colony existed under the authority and “laws” of the Virginia Company in London. The Pilgrims, by accident of navigation, landed outside the territorial limits of any existing, active legal or corporate authority. So they simply sat down as a citizenry and, instead of fighting over who should be the boss or bosses, established their own proto-democracy from scratch. And they did this coming from a pre-Enlightenment environment in which the “commons” in the British parliament were just (barely) beginning to assert their own rights and authority, in which concepts such as “equality” and “democracy” were virtually unknown, and in which monarchical and aristocratic rule had been the universal model for centuries. In the context of their times, it was rather remarkable.

So despite all their faults, hats off to the Pilgrim Fathers for planting a seed which has proved remarkably resilient over four centuries….

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  1. Richard Easton Member

    I am descended from thirteen people on the Mayflower including the famous (Standish, Alden and Mullins) and the infamous (John Billington the Mayflower murderer). Thanks for remembering this anniversary.

    • #1
    • November 21, 2020, at 8:44 PM PST
    • 14 likes
  2. JennaStocker Member

    ”And they did this coming from a pre-Enlightenment environment in which the “commons” in the British parliament were just (barely) beginning to assert their own rights and authority, in which concepts such as “equality” and “democracy” were virtually unknown, and in which monarchical and aristocratic rule had been the universal model for centuries. In the context of their times, it was rather remarkable.”

    It could be a possibility that, with a bit of divine grace, these courageous, resolute people created this new identity out of what they didn’t want to continue: that of immobile social and economic castes and a despotic government hostile to religious liberty and associative freedom. Maybe it was the first act of defiance in favor of liberty that – god willing – keeps this a nation bound by a collective yearning for freedom. Remarkable, indeed. Thank you for sharing this!

    • #2
    • November 21, 2020, at 9:07 PM PST
    • 12 likes
  3. James Gawron Thatcher
    James GawronJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Peter,

    THE TEXT OF 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 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.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #3
    • November 21, 2020, at 9:12 PM PST
    • 8 likes
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  4. Gary Robbins Reagan

    The picture of how many people died the first winter is overwhelming.

    https://store.thehistorylist.com/products/mayflower-passengers-and-those-who-survived-the-first-year-infographic-poster?variant=31338081648705

    • #4
    • November 22, 2020, at 3:24 AM PST
    • 1 like
  5. Gary Robbins Reagan

    Pin by Elizabeth Sherard on Kids | My family history, Genealogy history, Family tree genealogyAbove are the people who entered into the compact at 1620. Below is the same group, showing those who have died.

    • #5
    • November 22, 2020, at 3:26 AM PST
    • Like
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  6. Gary Robbins Reagan

    Graphic of Mayflower Passengers who survived to First Thanksgiving in 1621 at Pilgrim Hall Museum. Plymouth,

    • #6
    • November 22, 2020, at 3:28 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  7. Richard O'Shea Coolidge

    The sainted Mrs. O’Shea is a direct descendant of Stephen Hopkins. 

     

    • #7
    • November 22, 2020, at 4:55 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  8. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHillJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    You cram that many people into a compact and what do you expect? They should have rented the biggest Mayflower SUV they could find…

    (I’ll leave myself out.)

    • #8
    • November 22, 2020, at 7:39 AM PST
    • 5 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  9. Richard O'Shea Coolidge

    Richard O'Shea (View Comment):

    The sainted Mrs. O’Shea is a direct descendant of Stephen Hopkins.

     

    And 10 or 12 generations later, apparently nobody saved a nickel to pass down……

    • #9
    • November 22, 2020, at 7:42 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  10. Nick Plosser Coolidge

    Timely and needed reminder Peter. Thanks for sharing. 

    • #10
    • November 22, 2020, at 8:40 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  11. DaleGustafson Coolidge

    If I am reading the infographic correctly you had a somewhat better chance of surviving if you were a part of a family and less chance of surviving if you were a man with no family. This would be in keeping with other catastrophes we have record of. Donner party for instance.

    • #11
    • November 22, 2020, at 8:45 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  12. Vance Richards Member
    Vance RichardsJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I was going to post something on the 11th but then realized that calendars have changed so what they called the 11th was actually the 21st for us.

    They wrote the compact in Provincetown harbor. The Cape is sandy and not great for farming so they eventually crossed the bay to Plymouth. Also, the natives in P-town might not have been their type of people . . .

     
    • #12
    • November 22, 2020, at 10:25 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  13. Hang On Member
    Hang OnJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    They arranged the colony on the principles they would organize their congregation. There is no overriding hierarchy in Congregationalism and the importance of consent. The Enlightenment was a late bloomer. 

    • #13
    • November 22, 2020, at 12:48 PM PST
    • 1 like
  14. Stad Coolidge

    Richard Easton (View Comment):
    I am descended from thirteen people on the Mayflower

    Wow! You don’t look that old . . .

    • #14
    • November 23, 2020, at 10:06 AM PST
    • 1 like
  15. Percival Thatcher
    PercivalJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Stad (View Comment):

    Richard Easton (View Comment):
    I am descended from thirteen people on the Mayflower

    Wow! You don’t look that old . . .

    • #15
    • November 23, 2020, at 11:01 AM PST
    • 1 like