Pilgrim Agreement

In 1802, John Quincy Adams described the agreement as “the only example in human history of this positive, original and social pact” and it is generally accepted that it influenced the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. The original document does not survive. He first appeared in Mourt`s Relationship, a pamphlet on the first year of colonization in Plimoth. In 1669, the city historian Nathaniel Morton printed the agreement in his book New England Memorial. Interestingly, he added a possible list of the men who signed it, even though the men`s names were not included in previous copies of the Mayflower Compact. According to Morton, the document was signed by 41 men, with the exception of one of the free men, three of the five employees and two of the nine servants. A pilgrim is a person who often goes on a long journey for religious or moral purposes, and especially in a foreign country. After the arrival of the Mayflower, the first baby born was a boy. His parents (William and Susannah White) called him Peregrine – a word that means to travel from afar and also means pilgrim. The writer of Mourt`s relationship of 1622 calls the Plymouth Colonists pilgrims. Governor William Bradford called the settlers of Plymouth on pilgrimage when he wrote about their departure from Leiden, Holland, to come to America: “They knew they were pilgrims, and they did not look at these things much, but raised their eyes to heaven, their favorite country; and calmed his mind.¬†Governor Bradford also wrote a poem in which he describes himself as a pilgrim. Imagine the situation: more than 100 people, cut off from any government, with a rebellion coming.

Only a firm determination would help the pilgrims to land and establish their colony. If they didn`t work in groups, they could all die in the wild. The pilgrims realized that they needed a temporary government agency. Back in the homeland, this authority came from the king. Isolated as in America, it could only come from men themselves. On board the Mayflower, pilgrims and “Strangers” necessarily made a written agreement or made it compact to each other. The Mayflower Compact was probably composed by William Brewster, who had a university education, and was signed by almost all adult male settlers, including two of the arrived servants.