Government & Constitution

The Mayflower Compact, 1620

The Mayflower Compact, 1620

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 Great Britain, France and Ireland King, Defender of the Faith, etc.

Having undertaken, for the glory of God, and advancement of the Christian faith and honor 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 politic, 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 hereunder subscribed our names at Cape Cod the 11 of November, in the year of the reign of our sovereign Lord, King James of England, France and Ireland the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth Ano.  Dom. 1620.

John Carver, William Bradford, Edward Winslow, William Brewster, Isaac Allerton, Miles Standish, John Alden, Samuel Fuller, Christopher Martin, William Mullins, William White, James Chilton, John Craxton, John Billington, Richard Warren, John Howland, Steven Hopkins, Edward Tilly, John Tilly, Francis Cook, Thomas Rogers,Thomas Tinker, John Rigdale, Edward Fuller, John Turner, Francis Eaton, Moses Fletcher, Digery Priest, Thomas Williams, Gilbert Winslow, Edmond Margeson, Peter Brown, Richard Bitteridge, Richard Clark, Richard Gardiner, John Allerton, Thomas English, Edward Doten, Edward Liester, John Goodman, George Soule

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  • Borghesius

    “…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. ”

    Wow, there is no limit to these powers other than moral restraint and humility. In modern hands, this would be extraordinarily bad. Note also, only male signatures,

  • Dustoff

    Very good. Glad to see some people actually read history. Not the BS version.

  • AKgunguy

    THe biggest thing to note in the Mayflower compact is the stated purpose;
    to propagae the Christian religion!
    where the heck did we go so far from this document?

  • AKgunguy

    it was 1620! women did not speak in that day unless spoken to. Your comment compkletely ignores the time of the document.

  • Dee Stafford

    Also, as a result of the bountiful harvest that resulted from the desocialization the first Thanksgiving was held and the Indians were invited. It was not as a thanking of the Indians for their assistance as commonly spouted.

  • Proud2beFree

    So you still wish that we had protestantism as our state religion, or even that we still had a state religion at all?

    Hmmm, that would require some heavy rewriting if the constitution. The Bill of Rights would certainly be shorter.

  • Proud2beFree

    What version of history are you talking about? Early colonial failures reversed by increased monetary investment and the proliferation of private property are in line with what I earned in school.
    Seriously, as a history major, I’m interested in what sources you’re talking about.

  • warrant4

    There are plenty of countries with a recognized state religion which also have freedom of religion. England and Norway are two I have lived in. It is no big deal of theocractic rule every American thinks. It does, however, recognize where the moral code of the people of a country comes from. This is not a bad thing. One of the reasons for some of the ridiculous court judgments and horrible legislations in THIS country is because we deny the source of our moral code; meaning there is no moral code. I think this country would be a much nicer place to live without internet porn, abortion, rampant promiscuity, dishonesty accepted in politics, alcoholism, drug abuse, and a bunch of other ills which an acceptance of Biblical standards of behavior might have averted. For an example; England got rid of the slave trade, then slavery itself, so much sooner and without a massive Civil War.
    So without getting ridiculous (like the fear of possible public stonings or other nonsense) tell me exactly how a Christian Biblical moral compass is a bad thing. Is there a particular one of the Ten Commandments you feel its your right to break? (We can exclude the worship of one God and the prohibition against graven images if you insist). Tell me. Tell my lying, adultery, stealing, murder, disrespect of your parents, tell me these are things you reserve the right to do: Like pornography? I am tired of the writers hiding their central fear and desire behind some sort of secular moral high ground. Those who fear a rule of law based on the Bible fear it because of the things they want to do without being caught and punished for.

  • Reactant

    I don’t think you can attribute the abolition of slavery without bloodshed (there was bloodshed, though in comparison to the Civil War, it’s very little) in the British Empire to its state-recognized religion – there are a lot of differences between the British situation and the situation in the Southern United States.

    That being said, those countries with state-religions suffer from the exact same ills that you describe here in the United States – the divorce rate (I know you didn’t explicitly mention this, but it’s often referred to as the unraveling of Christian values) for the UK (state-religion) is 42.6%, the rate for Denmark (state-religion) is 44.5%, while the rate for the United States is 54.8%. The United Kingdom has very similar drug-abuse rates as the Unites States as well.

    I’ll agree with you that it’s a sad reality – I see Christian values as valuable, just as you do. But state-sponsored religion and indoctrination isn’t the right way to go – so many of our successes as a country have been a direct result of our tolerance for all religions, and our reluctance to officially favor one over any others. 73% of Americans self-identify themselves as Christian, but how many of those do you think really know Jesus Christ? Again, it’s a very sad reality – but we all must do our own part, as individuals, as members of the body of Christ, to talk to our neighbors, to our friends, about the Gospel – these conversations don’t have to be centered on converting them, just exposing them to who Jesus is, and who He isn’t. Once somebody truly knows Jesus, the two commandments He gave, on which all the Law hangs, should become central to their life, and there’s your solution to many of today’s social ills. But that shouldn’t be the government’s role, in my opinion.

  • Proud2beFree

    You’re saying a lot of things here. Let me try to take them one by one. Please stop me if I misrepresent your position.

    Like Reactant said, it is very hard to compare the slave trade in Britain, really its colonies, and the slave trade in America, The southerners in the American Civil war were some of the most devout Christians of the 19th century, and pretty much the entire legislative history of our country can be boiled down to slave state and free state compromises and bouts through the Civil War.

    You’re creating a false dichotomy when you say that America can either be run as a moral theocratic Christian country or it is doomed to fall into anarchy. That’s more than a bit unrealistic. An overwhelming majority of American politicians are Christian, usually protestant. They can and do use Christianity as their moral compass without necessarily codifying it and forcing it on everyone else.

    It’s great that you think the US would be better without things like dishonest in politics, “rampant promiscuity”, alcoholism, and drug abuse, but how would those things realistically be stamped out under a theocracy? Heck, we tried to outlaw alcohol in the 20′s, and it was a massive failure. Again, like Reactant said, all those problems you mentioned are still major issues in the countries you cited that have a state religion.

    I’m having a hard time picturing your ideal society. I feel like it would require some sort of Christian version of the Saudi police of vice and virtue, and near fascist levels of surveillance and regulation. Do you really want that? Weren’t the pilgrims trying to escape that exact sort of top-down state monopoly on religion when they founded this country? Will you accommodate the thousands of splinter Christian sects, or will you have to draw the line in the sand somewhere?

    Finally, I have to mention porn. You might not like porn, but when you want to outlaw it, you run counter to the free market. No one’s forcing you to buy or watch it, so what’s wrong with consenting adults being paid to let other consenting adults watch them have sex?

    Like Reactant said, I think it’s great that you have a strong moral compass, and a clearly defined idea of right and wrong. Use this energy to live your life personally as your idea of a good Christian, as an example to your family and others.

  • Borghesius

    “In modern hands….”

    I also have some reservations about women in government transferring an over matronly attitude to government as opposed to the more hands off fatherly roll, as is discussed in Chesterton’s “What’s Wrong With the World”, but women who control the future of life are never powerless.

    Read “Women in the Days of the Cathedrals” by Regine Pernoud, or even the Gospels; traditionally Mary Magdalene is referred to as the Apostle to the Apostles, and Catherine of Sienna could chastise Popes, The status of women did slip significantly as a result of the Rationalists and the Enlightenment.

  • Borghesius

    Eventually resulting in “those that do not work, will not eat”. A message which may need revisiting.

    The USA has had many utopian experiments that didn’t work, yet they still keep trying.

  • Borghesius

    “But state-sponsored religion and indoctrination isn’t the right way to go ”

    As a parent with involvement with a student, we HAVE state-sponsored religion and indoctrination, just not a denominational religion, more of governmental progressivism as religion. We tried to find alternative history texts, and the sections on Mother Jones are longer than the sections on the pilgrims: I suspect some national curriculum standard is behind it.

    I’m looking for old texts at flea markets and used bookstores.

  • Maximus_Legitimus

    In advance, accept my apology for the cut and paste but it is relevant to the ariticle and it is directly from Gov. Bradford’s diary:

    Governor Bradford relates his experiences concerning the
    socialist state he had helped to create:

    “The experience that was had in this commone course and
    condition, tired sundrie years, and that amongst godly and sober
    men, may well evince the vanitie of that conceite of Platos and
    other ancients, applauded by some of later times; –that the
    taking away of propertie, and bringing in communitie into a
    comone wealth would make them happy and florishing; as if they
    were wiser than God. For this comunitie (so farr as it was) was
    found to breed much confusion and discontente, and retard much
    imployment that would have been to their benefite and comforte.
    For the yong-men that were most able and fitte for labour and
    service did repine that they should spend their time and
    streingth to worke for other mens wives and children, with out
    any recompense. The strong, or man of parts, had no more in
    divission of victails and cloaths, than he that was weake and
    not able to doe a quarter the other could; this was thought
    injustice. The aged and graver men to be ranked and equalised in
    labours, and victuals, cloaths, etc., with the meaner and
    younger sorte, thought it some indignite and disrespect unto
    them. And for men’s wives to be commanded to doe service for
    other men, as dresing their meate, washing their cloaths, etc.,
    they deemed it a kind of slavery, neither could many husbands
    well brooke it. ”

    Finally, in 1623, Governor Bradford called a meeting to discuss
    how to have a more productive growing season and be better
    prepared for the next winter. Governor Bradford writes:

    “All this while no supply was heard of, neither knew they when
    they might expecte any. So they [the pilgims] begane to thinke
    how they might raise as much corne as they could, and obtaine a
    beter crope than they had done, that they might not still thus
    languish in miserie. At length after much debate of things, the
    Gov. (with the advise of the cheefest amongest them) gave way
    that they should set downe every man for his owne perticuler,
    and in that regard trust to themselves… And so assigned to
    every family a parceel of land. This had very good success; for
    it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corne was
    planted than other waise would have bene by any means the Gov.
    or any other could use, and saved him a great deall of trouble,
    and gave farr better contente. The women now wente willingly
    into the feild, and tooke their litle-ons with them to set
    corne, which before would aledge weakness, and inabilitie; whom
    to have compelled would have bene thought great tiranie and

    It was at this meeting between Governor Bradford and the chief
    members of the colony that the American free enterprise system was
    born. Governor Bradford writes about the results of this system:

    “By this time harvest was come, and instead of famine, now God
    gave them plentie, and the face of things was changed, to the
    rejoysing of the harts of many, for which they blessed God. And
    in the effect of their perticular planting was well seene, for
    all had, one way and other, pretty well to bring the year
    aboute, and some of the abler sorte and more industrious had to
    spare, and sell to others, 50 as any generall wante of famine
    hath not been amongest them since to this day.”


  • Maximus_Legitimus

    One little step to appease followed by another. Evil is appealing to the eyes, and to our vanity, and further it has a pleasant voice full of reason and yet, is nothing more than lies.

  • Maximus_Legitimus

    Agreed, but the practice of one’s religion shouldn’t be restricted by the state.

  • Maximus_Legitimus

    Liberalism is a religion.

  • warrant4

    To reply to the first part, you’re correct. I was only trying to make the point that having a state recognized religion does not an evil theocracy make; as most people seem to think.
    To the second part, I could not agree with you more. Its not a popular thing to advocate, but we need to stop placing all the blame for our ills on our elected officials. After all, we the people put them in office. I have been saying to some places that we the people need the clean our own houses and the country will change from the roots up.
    And its interesting communicating with so many who hate, and try to label everyone as such. Those two Commandments, the two most important, Old Testament and New, those 2 Commandments, are Commandments to Love.
    Question: (for which I do not have an answer). You last sentence I totally agree with and it is not the governments role. The question is; when government takes on the role of attacking believers and abrogating any reference to God and Jesus Christ; when you see this happening, what do you think a good Christian should be doing? This is not a trick question of a trap. This is something I have discussed with others at length. Personnally I think we can do nothing save contnue on, witnessing and obeying, and encouraging others.

  • warrant4

    Deborah, Rachel, Rahab, Ruth, Sarah, Elizabeth, Esther, Mary,:
    I do not think women ever had as subserviant a role as modern day editors of history would have us believe.

  • Bob_Knows

    These are the same irrational minds that brought us the Salem Witch Trials a few years later. Lets kill for Jesus. What a great government. Good thing the King’s Governor stopped them after they had only committed a few dozen murders in the name of their religion.

  • ferryman

    If only John Goodman hadn’t been among them…I’m sure the food would have lasted longer!
    Happy Thanksgiving to all!