Q:

How is the Mayflower Compact best described?

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Quick Answer

The Mayflower Compact is best described as an agreement signed by the male settlers aboard the Mayflower to accept whatever form of government they established when they landed at Cape Cod in Massachusetts. According to History.com, it was the first written outline of government in what later became the United States.

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Full Answer

The 102 men, women and children aboard the Mayflower included both Pilgrims and non-Puritans such as Miles Standish and John Alden. Originally heading for Virginia, they were blown off course by a storm and ended up in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, which was outside the jurisdiction of existing chartered companies, in November 1620. They named the new land Plymouth after the harbor in England from which they left. Since they were independent, they created their own government under the Mayflower Compact. It was not exactly voluntary, as before male colonists went ashore, they had to sign the agreement. The Mayflower Compact remained valid until 1686 when the Plymouth colony became part of the Dominion of New England. In 1691, this became part of the larger Massachusetts Bay Colony.

The Mayflower Compact was an influence on the Founding Fathers in the drafting of the United States Constitution. The original document was lost, but three copies from the 17th century exist. They differ in wording, spelling, capitalization and punctuation but not in essence.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What was the purpose of the Mayflower Compact?

    A:

    The purpose of the Mayflower Compact was to unite the colonists of the Mayflower ship into a common government after storms drove them outside the borders of their original land patent. Those who signed it pledged to be subject to whatever government they established for the good of all.

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  • Q:

    Why is the Mayflower Compact important?

    A:

    The Mayflower Compact was the first formal framework of government established in what is now the United States. The Mayflower Compact was created to prevent dissent amongst Puritans and non-separatist Pilgrims who landed at Plymouth a few days prior to the drafting.

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  • Q:

    What did the pilgrims eat on the Mayflower?

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    The pilgrims on the Mayflower ate foods that were easily preserved such as salted beef, salted fish, beans, peas, porridge and biscuits. Pilgrims drank beer with most meals, as they considered it safer to drink than water.

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  • Q:

    How many pilgrims were on the Mayflower?

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    The Mayflower carried 102 passengers, roughly 40 of them Pilgrims, from England to North America in 1620. The Pilgrims, who referred to themselves as "Saints," were Protestant Separatists hoping to create a church in the New World.

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