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 Mayflower Compact an example of?

    A:

    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:

    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 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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  • Q:

    Where did the Pilgrims first land in America?

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    The Pilgrims first landed in Plymouth Harbor on Cape Cod in what is now Massachusetts in 1620. Many believe they landed on the specific site of Plymouth Rock, but first-person accounts of the voyage make no mention of the rock itself.

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