November 11, 1620

This Mayflower Compact is a perfect example of the Social Contract, which, according to political philosphers of the time, was the basis for all ordered civilization. The Compact was written because the Pilgrims who landed in Plymouth, Massachusetts, realized that they were outside the limits of the Virginia colony, with whom they had contracted to come to America. Thus they felt they had it in their power to establish a charter for themselves, and the compact which they created was the basis for their colonial organization. If you read it carefully, you will see that it mentions everything that is essential in a founding document; in fact, the compact contains everything of importance that is in the United States Constitution—except for the details. That is to say it makes provisions for “just and equal Laws, Ordinances, Acts ... and Offices” which would be essential for good governance. While the details are spelled out far more greatly in United States Constitutio, the spirit of the two documents is the same. The Compact begins, “We whose names are underwritten... ”, and the United States Constitution begins, “We the people of the United States ... ” The connection is clear.

See the original English version and a note about the signers.

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 the 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 another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil Body Politick, for our better Ordering and Preservation, and Furtherance of the Ends aforesaid; And by Virtue hereof do 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 hereunto subscribed our names at Cape Cod the eleventh of November, in the Reign of our Sovereign Lord King James of England, France, and Ireland, the eighteenth and of Scotland, the fifty-fourth. Anno Domini, 1620

Mr. John Carver     Mr. William Bradford    Mr. Edward Winslow     Mr. William Brewster
Isaac Allerton     Miles Standish   John Alden     John Turner    Francis Eaton     James Chilton
John Craxton     John Billington     Joses Fletcher     John Goodman    Mr. Samuel Fuller    
Mr. Christopher Martin    Richard Gardiner     Mr. John Allerton   
Thomas English     Edward Doten      Edward Liester.    
Mr. Stephen Hopkins    Digery Priest     Thomas Williams   
Gilbert Winslow     Edmund Margesson    Peter Brown    
Richard Bitteridge    George Soule     Edward Tilly       
John Tilly     Francis Cooke    Thomas Rogers     Thomas Tinker   
John Ridgate     Edward Fuller    Richard Clark     Mr. William Mullins   
Mr. William White     Mr. Richard Warren    John Howland

Colonial Home | Updated November 6, 2016