In November 1620 a written agreement was created and signed by 41 men which came to be called the Mayflower Compact.  The original document has been lost but the following is considered by historians to be an authentic reproduction by William Bradford.  The Compact’s historical significance is that it is the first constitution penned and agreed to in what would become the United States of America.

Daniel Webster speaking of the Mayflower Compact says, “This constitution is not long. I will read it. It invokes a religious sanction and the authority of God on their civil obligations; for it was no doctrine of the Puritans that civil obedience is a mere mater of expediency.” (The Christian Life and Character of the Civil Institutions of the United States)

Some argue that the Compact is not a constitution because it does provide limitations on the government.  Nevertheless, Webster refers to it as a consitution and Ashbel Steel praises the Compact saying, “In the instrument itself are the marks of a ready hand, of a sound practical, and even far reaching mind. All is expressed in terms full, comprehensive,  complete, and capable of application without limit. Good authorities have pronounced it to have been the Germ of American Constitutions.” (CHIEF OF THE PILGRIMS: THE LIFE AND TIME WILLIAM BREWSTER, RULING ELDER OF THE PILGRIM COMPANY THAT FOUNDED NEW PLYMOUTH, THE PARENT COLONY OF NEW ENGLAND, IN 1620. )

Here is the famous document.

“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 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.”

The Mayflower Compact is the granddaddy of the United States Constitution.  More importantly this document provides evidence that our nation is based upon Judeo-Christian values.  This simple compact acknowledges God’s existence, the Christian faith and that the civil body politic was created in God’s presence and with his sanction.  The men who penned and signed this document were Puritans and for this reason we can safely conclude that the faith of which they spoke would be the faith described within the pages of Holy Writ, the Bible, and none other.  Clearly, the hearty souls who signed this constitution believed the foundation for the political ideals they espousing, upon which their new government was to be founded and the governing laws of their new society were Judeo-Christian in origin.  This document provides valuable evidence that America is founded upon Judeo-Christian values.  If America is to succeed she must return to them.

Bo

Mayflower

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