There were 102 passengers on the Mayflower. 50 men, 19women, 33 young adults and children; of those, only 41 were religious separatistsseeking independence from the Church of England. The others who weren’t a partof those seeking independence were considered common folk, who they called “strangers.”Seeking to escape religious persecution, these Pilgrims signed a contract with theLondon Virginia Company to finance their expenditure and ultimately settle nearthe Hudson River in Virginia. However, the Mayflower landed in Massachusettsinstead of Virginia.
Discord immediately began over the veracity of the LondonVirginia Company contract, and some felt that as the Mayflower had landedoutside their territory, the contract was void. Pilgrim leaders on the Mayflower wanted to quell therebellion before it could spiral out of control. The establishment of a NewWorld colony would be strenuous enough without disagreements among thesettlers. Thus, the Mayflower Compact was drafted and signed aboard theMayflower on November 21, 1620. Modeled after a Separatist covenant, theycreated a plantation covenant that established a temporary government until anothercould be permanently established. It brought principles of a self-governingbody that wasn’t yet completely separate from the King of England.
Theprinciples in the Mayflower Compact made a significant contribution to thecreation of a new democratic nation.The Mayflower Compact helped lay the foundation for the independenceof the United States today. A main concept derived from it was a governing law forand by the people. It also created the idea of a social construct. What thisshort document did was basically bind everybody into a single community, and bysigning the document, each signer agreed to join this community and be a partof it. Without this document providing the binds that brought together the “strangers”and the Pilgrims, these two groups would have likely fought for dominance,ultimately destroying each other in the first few years of settlement.
All in all, the Mayflower Compact was a short documentwritten by those onboard the Mayflower to bind together the people and avoidconflicts in their first years of settlement. The two large groups, the “strangers”and the Pilgrims seeking to escape religious persecution would have likely foughtfor dominance without this document, leading to the destruction of both groups.The document helped lay the basic foundation for what would become anindependent nation in the future by establishing some of the main concepts ofdemocracy and social constructs. It was one of the first examples in Americanhistory of self-governance, establishing their own government on foreign land.
It shows an example of determination in the face of adversity which helped seta precedent for when the colonists rebelled against Britain.