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Faced with the possibility of deep rifts within their new community, the signers of the Mayflower Compact did something almost unheard of in Europe: They mutually agreed to enact “just and equal laws” to guide them in their new political community. There would be no king among their ranks; rather, they would submit themselves to laws that they themselves had written. In this, the Pilgrims offered an early model of American constitutionalism: the rule of law, equal justice, and government by consent of the governed. The Mayflower Compact stands as a rebuke to those who denigrate America’s historic commitment to freedom and democracy, ideals which were written into the very first pages of the American story. Join the discussion to hear the case for preserving our legacy of freedom.
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