Q:

Why is the Mayflower Compact important?

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Quick Answer

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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The Mayflower Compact was signed on Nov. 11th, 1620. The document was signed on board the Mayflower shortly after it came to anchor off Provincetown Harbor. The document was crafted by the Pilgrims who obtained permission from English authorities to settle in what is now the Hudson River Valley of New York. The Pilgrims intended to settle near the mouth of the Hudson river; however, dangerous weather forced them to make landfall far north of their permitted destination.

An argument broke out among the 102 passengers when the Mayflower dropped anchor. Several of the Pilgrims on board argued that since the Cape Cod area was outside the agreed-upon jurisdiction, the agreed-upon rules and regulations laid forth by the English no longer applied. The Pilgrim leaders thus drafted the Mayflower Compact to establish an authority on their new land. The document was a formal attempt to establish a legally binding self-governing body.

The Mayflower Compact designated how male adult members of each church would worship God and elect church officers. The drafting also established John Carver, a Pilgrim leader, as governor of the newly established colony.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What did the Mayflower Compact establish?

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    The Mayflower Compact established that the Pilgrims and other settlers who arrived at Cape Cod aboard the Mayflower in November 1620 would abide by the laws and ordinances of a "civil body politic" they would mutually set up to govern themselves. It was the foundation of Plymouth Colony and the first act of government ever written and implemented in the territory that became the United States.

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  • Q:

    Who signed the Mayflower Compact?

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    The Mayflower Compact was signed on November 11, 1620 by the 41 colonists who came over to Cape Cod on the Mayflower from England. The Mayflower Compact was a document that outlined the blueprint of the initial government at Cape Cod and then at Plymouth when the group decided to sail upward to a new area.

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  • Q:

    What was the Mayflower Compact an example of?

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    The Mayflower Compact is an example of a governing document. It was an attempt by the first pilgrims who had settled in Massachusetts to form a legal government. The compact was intended to last until the Virginia Company could get official permission from the New England Council in England.

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  • Q:

    What was the main purpose of the Mayflower Compact?

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    Before arriving in North America, the Pilgrim leaders, including William Bradford and William Brewster, developed the Mayflower Compact to establish a provisional government and prevent civil disorder in their new settlement, according to the Encyclopaedia Britannica. Forty-one adult males on the voyage were required to sign the document, which was a formal pledge to adhere to future laws created by the governing body.

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