The pilgrims who settled in America in 1620 loved and honored God. They did their best to govern their lives in a way that pleased Him. Their goodness and character were evident in the way they lived and in the governing documents they created. Their faith, courage, grit, and love for each other created the foundation for the greatest nation in the history of the world.
Here is a short video about The Mayflower Compact, the first governing document of their community, and a precursor of the United States Constitution.
"This day, before we came to harbour, observing some not well affected to unity and concord, but gave some appearance of faction, it was thought good there should be an association and agreement, that we should combine together in one body and to submit to such government and governors as we should by common consent agree to make and choose, and set our hands
to this that follows, word for word." ~William Bradford
The Mayflower Compact
"We, whose names are underwritten, the Loyal Subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord, King James, by the Grace of God, of England, France and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, e&.
"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 of 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 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 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."
What does The Mayflower Compact tell us?
- The Pilgrims created their governing document "in the name of God." God is very important to them. They want to govern their lives in a way that is pleasing to HIm.
- They are loyal subjects of King James.
- Their purpose for leaving their homes and sailing across the ocean to form a new colony in Virginia is to glorify God, to advance the Christian faith, and to honor their King and country.
- They are forming a government to keep order, stay alive, and to fulfill the purpose stated above.
- This document gives them the power to form the laws, rules, and offices needed for the good of the colony.
- As leaders of the government, they promise submission and obedience to the people.