The 1620 agreement (first called the Mayflower Compact in 1793) was a legal instrument that bound the Pilgrims together when they arrived in New England. The core members of the Pilgrims’ immigrant group were Separatists, members of a Puritan sect that had split from the Church of England, the only legal church in England at that time. Others in the group, however, had remained part of the Church of England, so not all of the Pilgrims shared the same religion.
When the Pilgrims left England, they obtained permission from the King of England to settle on land farther to the south near the mouth of the Hudson River (in present-day New York). Because they chose to remain where they landed in New England, they needed a new permission (called a patent) to settle there. On November 11, 1620, needing to maintain order and establish a civil society while they waited for this new patent, the adult male passengers signed the Mayflower Compact.
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.
|John Carver||Edward Tilly||Digery Priest|
|William Bradford||John Tilly||Thomas Williams|
|Edward Winslow||Francis Cooke||Gilbert Winslow|
|William Brewster||Thomas Rogers||Edmund Margeson|
|Isaac Allerton||Thomas Tinker||Peter Brown|
|Miles Standish||John Rigdale||Richard Bitteridge|
|John Alden||Edward Fuller||George Soule|
|Samuel Fuller||John Turner||Richard Clark|
|Christopher Martin||Francis Eaton||Richard Gardiner|
|William Mullins||James Chilton||John Allerton|
|William White||John Craxton||Thomas English|
|Richard Warren||John Billington||Edward Doten|
|John Howland||Moses Fletcher||Edward Leister|
|Stephen Hopkins||John Goodman|