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Thanksgiving Day 2009: Mayflower Compact

Mayflower Compact

The pilgrims were basically the fortune hunters, bound for the resourceful 'New World'. And the Mayflower was a small ship crowded with men, women and children, besides the sailors on board. Aboard did passengers comprise the 'separatists', who called themselves the 'Saints', and others, whom the separatists called the 'Strangers'.

When finally the land was sighted in November following 66 days of a lethal voyage, a meeting was held and an agreement of truce was worked out between the 'Saints' and the 'Strangers'. It was called the 'Mayflower Compact'. This agreement ensured the equality between the members of these two groups. And then the two groups merged together to be recognized as the 'Pilgrims' instead of the 'Saints' and the 'Strangers'. And they elected John Carver as their first governor.

"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."

There followed the signatures of 41 of the 102 passengers, 37 of whom were members of the 'Separatists' who were fleeing religious persecution in Europe. This compact established the first basis in the new world for written laws. Although half the pilgrims failed to survive the first winter but the survivors lived on and prospered too.