[This Compact, drawn up in the cabin of the Mayflower, was not a
constitution, a document defining and limiting the functions of
government. It was, however, the germ of popular government in America.
Governor Bradford makes this reference to the circumstances under which
the Compact was drawn up and signed:
"This day, before we came to harbour, observing some not well
affected to unity and concord, but gave some appearance of faction, it
was thought good there should be an association and agreement, that we
should combine together in one body, and to submit to such government
and governors as we should by common consent agree to make and choose,
and set our hands to this that follows, word for word."]
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. Anno Domini 1620.