Talk:Mayflower Compact

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It has been my understanding that, after the signing of the compact, the pilgrims were the only passengers holding authority while on the ship. So they immediately elected themselves to office while only they could vote. Had they waited until they moved to land, the "strangers," who were a majority, would have also had a vote, and their selections and viewpoints would not have been tolerable to the pilgrims. 03:00, 24 March 2007 (UTC)Gene Douglas

The religious contingent were not the only signors to the Compact. (talk) 12:14, 16 October 2013 (UTC)

All wrong?[edit]

I think that this article is all wrong. The Pilgrims came to America, with British colonies already established and functioning perfectly. What the pilgrims wanted to do was create a colony based on puritan ideals, they felt the earlier colonies lost their religious ideals. The compact is an agreement by all the male members who were touched by "grace" (they know they are predestined to go to heaven) that they will abide by a strict religious code and govern themselves accordingly. They will have ties with England and the king, but will have no religious tolerance, they only want to practice one religion and everyone who lives there must also practice it. Essentially, it was a religious colony and this document was a statement of its intent. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 18 February 2007.

There were only a few settlements in 1620 when the Mayflower arrived: Virginia was settled in 1607 at Jamestown, 1610 at Hampton, 1611 at Henricus, 1613 at Newport News, 1613 at New Bermuda, and a few other Virginia settlements. The Massachusetts Bay Colony was not set up until after the Mayflower. The Dutch first established trading posts in Pennsylvania in 1624. The first permanent settlement in what would be New York was by the Dutch in 1624. So you see, the British colonies were not "already established and functioning perfectly".
As for their reason for coming to America, it was to escape persecution in England and to prevent them from losing their cultural identity in the Dutch city of Liden where many of them first went to escape religious persecution. --Pmsyyz 07:11, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
The Pilgrims WERE NOT puritans, they were separatists (the distinction in 2007 may seem tiny to those how haven't studied the period). The reason for the Compact was that the license they brought with them was only good for up to the northern reaches of Virginia (now Hudsons River NY). There was dissension on board the ship. The non-Lieden people were threatening to do whatever they wanted in 'New England'. To end the dissent, the Compact was drwan up to bind them as a 'civil politic'. The person who started this thread exhibits a disdain for puritans (who would not land in Mass Bay until 1630), and it drips over to anyone of religious beliefs. Religion was a major part of the Pilgrims life, as it was in all Europe, but 2007 standard of tolerance is not the yardstick to measure them by. You sir, are all wrong. Read the source documents. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Calixte (talkcontribs) 13:35, June 2, 2007 (UTC)

Location now[edit]

can someone put where the mayflower compact is now. Archives museaum maybe? --Ncusa367

The Compact 'exists' as a hand written copy on a page in Bradford's manuscript. The 'original' is long lost. Bradford's hand written manuscript is kept in the Massachusetts State House Library. - Calixte

I added to the article that Bradford's hand written manuscript is kept in a special vault at the State Library of Massachusetts. And added this reference link State Library of Massachusetts Online catalog - Jeeny Talk 18:48, 2 June 2007 (UTC)

How can we a do a numbered list?[edit]

if we could number the list of signers, instead of just bullets, then a quick scan would tell you if there are 41 signers...? comments? Calixte 03:55, 14 June 2007 (UTC)

I thought about doing that, too. I don't know the order of the signers though, and if it matters. -- (to change to a numbered list you add the pound sign rather than the asterisk} -- I'll do that now. I guess we should wait for consensus? Perhaps someone knows the order? I don't have time to check on that right now, though. - Jeeny Talk 05:35, 14 June 2007 (UTC)
I found these: I assume this is the order by just glancing this one? - Jeeny Talk 05:52, 14 June 2007 (UTC)
The order is not important since no one knows the order! Alphabetical or by perceived importance (Bradford, Brewster, Winslow, -etc) is probably OK Calixte 16:50, 3 July 2007 (UTC)

Date discrepancy[edit]

The article stated that:

[the Compact] is often mistakenly thought to be the first Constitution in America. The Fundamental Orders of Connecticut actually hold this honor.

However, according to the respective Wikipedia articles, the Compact was signed in 1620, while the Fundamental Orders were signed in 1638. Hence my edits. ô¿ô (talk) 13:25, 22 November 2007 (UTC)


The compact is often referred to as the foundation of the Constitution of the United States. I changed this to 'citation needed' since the reference cited doesn't reflect this claim. So who really said this? I've heard this claim before, so it's possible that it's an aphorism/adage, rather than a genuine fact. Hires an editor (talk) 13:56, 2 June 2008 (UTC)

Though I did not write on the subject mentioned above, I like to pass along that it was John Q. Adams who viewed it as the very keystone in our American Government. -cc —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:51, 14 August 2009 (UTC)

Protect article?[edit]

I have noticed a lot of vandalism on this article by anonymous IPs. Maybe this article could be semi-protected? Anyways, thanks. Montgomery' 39 (talk) 22:44, 27 October 2008 (UTC)

I corrected several egregious typos in the first paragraph, and removed "42) george Washington" (sic) from the list of signers. I don't know if the vandal responsible for that wrote over another name or not (anonymous). —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 22:21, 19 March 2009

A couple more changes made by the vandal, Kolahalam, were reverted by Wolfrock. — Joe Kress (talk) 18:25, 20 March 2009 (UTC)

Social contract?[edit]

A social contract that most of the people didn't sign? How is that a contract? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:28, 2 June 2009 (UTC)

Many of the people who didn't sign were females, who at that time did not have political rights. --DThomsen8 (talk) 23:18, 9 September 2009 (UTC)
and their children... As written, the bit about "Majoritarian rule" is highly inaccurte and misleading. This Complete Passenger list makes this all the more clear. (talk) 03:15, 4 October 2010 (UTC)

It appears to this reader that a misleading over-tone is assumed in the opening paragraph concerning those who actually signed the Compact. It seems it would be more objective and accurate to state that the document was signed by all of the adult male passengers or "heads of households" as it was commonly understood. The current reading portrays the event as taking place by a conspiring minority and does more to promote a historically conspicuous view than to accurately and objectively portray a historical event. Bfairplease (talk) 14:30, 26 November 2009 (UTC)

Of course this compact by British subjects forming a British colony has little to do with the Founding Fathers that founded the United States of America under the U.S. Constitution. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Samsboy38 (talkcontribs) 16:59, 2 April 2010 (UTC)

According to Willison, "Saints and Strangers" (1945), there was mutiny on board the Mayflower calling for organized resistance to the group. "All were sentenced to die, and were executed." (68.) When mutiny rose again, "[T]o meet the explosive situation, the Leyden Saints in command decided once again to rely on the Word, drafting as formal and formidable a document as they knew how." (69.) He suggests the ringleaders may have been "commanded" to sign the Compact, as "an instrument to maintain the status quo on the Mayflower, to show inferiors in general, and servants in particular, their place and keep them where they belonged--i.e. under the thumbs of their masters." (71.) If I had permission, I would edit the "Reasons" section to include Willison's, which seems very well researched.Jonathanpomerance (talk) 14:30, 8 October 2013 (UTC)

Text of the Mayflower Compact[edit]

Is there some reason the text is transcribed in Modern English? For example the first instance I noticed was that "in" and "colony" are spelled "yn", and "colonie" on Bradford's transcription. Is it some Wiki rule that I'm unaware of? 3lb33 (talk) 14:50, 18 August 2010 (UTC)

See WP:Quotations and WP:MOSQUOTE. The problem is that there are hundreds of versions of the Mayflower Compact, both 'ancient' and modern, so which should be quoted? The only guidance is that Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, that is, a tertiary source, which summarizes secondary sources, not primary sources per WP:PSTS, so generally a modern English version is preferred. Nevertheless, "primary sources that have been reliably published" are allowed. Thus any version of the Mayflower Compact may be quoted, except that Bradford's original manuscript may not be quoted. Fortunately, Bradford's manuscript has been reliably published as Bradford's History "Of Plimoth Plantation" (1901). In this published version, the first word is "In" (not "yn") while the the second word is "ye", where "y" is a substitute for the medieval letter thorn, þ ("colonie" is also present). Four of the five instances of that large cursive letter are published as "I" (two of "In" and two of "Ireland"). The fifth instance is published as "J" in the second "James". The first "James" did not use that large cursive letter in the manuscript, but what looks like a crossed "I". Bradford contains only one of three 17th century versions of the Mayflower Compact, one of which, Mourt's Relation, was published in 1622, long before Bradford wrote his journal. It uses the spellings "In" and "colony", at least in the 1826 facsimile that I can access, Mourt's Relation. The beginning of the 17th century was when the letter "J" was invented, so it was used interchangeably with "I" as both a consonant and vowel, just as "U" and "V" were used interchangeably. — Joe Kress (talk) 09:19, 21 August 2010 (UTC)
Thanks Joe! That was very informative. 3lb33 (talk) 15:25, 23 August 2010 (UTC)
I have now confirmed that the original 1622 version of Mourt's Relation uses the spellings "In" and "colony". I am researching both the text and signers, so will revise both of those sections shortly. However, I am still uncertain whether a modern spelling is desireable or not. Most modern sources mention Bradford's manuscript but change its wording as well as its spelling. I don't like to change the words of a cited source. — Joe Kress (talk) 08:28, 24 August 2010 (UTC)

Errors in Wiki's Mayflower Compact[edit]

Why can't Wiki's Mayflower Compact page be corrected? It is LOCKED!! William Bradford, an EYEWITNESS to the signing wrote a DIFFERENT Mayflower Compact. See photos below at:

This is the "Mayflower Compact" as written by Mayflower passenger William Bradford into his manuscript History of Plymouth Plantation about 1630."

The original page of the Mayflower Compact in William Bradford's History Of Plymouth Plantation, is roughtly translated as follows:

Having undertaken for the glory of God, and advancement of the Christian, and honour of our king and country, a voyage to plant and first colonize in the Northern parts of Virginia, do by these present, solemnly and mutually in the presence of God, and one of another, covenant, and combine our values together into a civil body politic, for [ye] 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 submissions 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. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:55, 13 November 2010 (UTC)
The article is locked to prevent continuing vandalism throughout the school year by students.
Your version is quite different from the version at your own cited link [1]: You did not include the preface, you modernized the spelling (which is what the article's present version does), and you left out several words that were present in Bradford's version. As I mentioned above, Bradford's version is not the only version. Mourt (George Morton, father of Nathaniel Morton) published his version in 1622, long before Bradford wrote his account during 1630–50, and Nathaniel Morton (Bradford's nephew) published another version in 1669. We can only choose one version and list the differences between them.
I am working on several Wikipedia projects at the same time, and unfortunately I have neglected this article. — Joe Kress (talk) 04:57, 15 November 2010 (UTC)

Original Mayflower compact[edit]

I am removing an external link to because even though the document shown is claimed to be original and even shows original signatures, the original Mayflower Compact has not survived, nor have most of the signatures. Thus the document shown is fictional. It goes far beyond legitimate scholarship. The fictional document is based on William Bradford's manuscript version written in 1646, which was not printed at that time. An earlier version also written by William Bradford that differs from his 1646 version in several respects was printed in Mourt's Relation in 1622 but neither version includes the names of any signers, let alone their actual signatures. A list of the purported "signers" first appears in New-Englands Memorial (1669) by Nathaniel Morton. The original compact was probably hand written because I doubt that the Mayflower had a printing press, and even if it did, I doubt that it would be unpacked along with the cases of letters, inks and other paraphernalia required to produce the printed document shown. I also doubt that the "signers" could even write their own signatures because only the rich were able to receive an education that allowed them to read and write. A good source is The Mayflower compact and its signers (1920) by George Ernest Bowman, which includes photocopies of the original 1622, 1646, and 1669 documents. — Joe Kress (talk) 08:55, 12 February 2011 (UTC)

Why "ye"?[edit]

Why is "ye" used instead of "þe" or "the"? Even if the letters looks the same, they are not. The long S was replaced by the modern one, so the modernization of the text is inconsistent.Jeremy scott williams (talk) 09:34, 11 October 2012 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:33, 3 December 2012 (UTC)

The letter thorn, þ, was not used in any version of the Mayflower compact. Facsimiles of the three 17th century versions (1622, 1646, 1669) can be found in George Ernest Bowman, The Mayflower Compact and its signers. The two 17th century printed versions (1622, 1669) both use the mordern "th", hence they use "the" throughout. Bradford's manuscript version (1646) uses a lower case script "y" with a backwards "e" above the right half of the "y". The official 1901 printed version of Bradford's manuscript published by the Massachusetts Historical Society uses "ye". not "ye".
The printed version of the long s, ſ, is used by both printed versions (1622, 1669), whereas Bradford's manuscript uses a large . However, the official 1901 printed version of Bradford's manuscript use the modern "s".
Additionally, Bradford's manuscript uses several nonstandard letters. For example, in place of the modern capital "I" used by the 1622 and 1669 printed versions, Bradford used a large script lower case "y" (see facsimile page in the article and in Bowman cited above). The official 1901 printed version of Bradford's manuscript makes no attempt to duplicate Bradford's letters, using a modern font (orthography) throughout (except for ye), while using Bradford's spelling.
Joe Kress (talk) 22:40, 14 October 2013 (UTC)


Removed chart which served no historical or educational purpose. The spellings show slight variations but the meaning of the words are clearly identical.Mugginsx (talk) 17:21, 9 October 2013 (UTC)

Suggestion to merge "Signer section"[edit]

I would like to suggest a merge of Mayflower Compact signatories with this article. At that article there is a brief summary of each signer. I also think that the composition and factual differences are explained in more detail, naming the scholars and what and why they feel differently about certain important facts. Mugginsx (talk) 16:59, 4 October 2013 (UTC)

I have no opinion on this merger, but the order of names now given in the article should also be in the new version because it explains the many different orders for the names whenever lists appear in reliable sources, both numbered and unnumbered. The numbers are used in genealogy. — Joe Kress (talk) 23:43, 14 October 2013 (UTC)
If I understand what you are saying, I would respond that the order of the names is also disputed. Also the order of the signatures really have no historical significance save, perhaps for Carver who is believed by some to have written the document. They can easily be found by genealogists and in the Mayflower Compact signatories article they are linked to their individual Wiki articles per Wikipedia:Style where articles have been made. Perhaps I am misunderstanding what you meant? Mugginsx (talk) 10:08, 16 October 2013 (UTC)
My phrase "many different orders" was wildly overblown. Only two orders of the signatories are given in reliable sources as explained in Signers. The numbered order used by genealogists and about half of unnumbered lists has Samuel Fuller as the eighth name, whereas the other order used by the remaining unnumbered lists has John Turner as the eighth name (with corresponding differences in the order of the remaining names). I'm adding some additional explanation to that section so that the two orders can be readily seen from the list given. Only one or two sources note that the actual order is unknown, so we should give the orders used by most sources. This article already links all signers with their articles if those articles exist. The additional comments given in the signatories article can be added to this aricle only if each name is given individually a second time below the list already in this article. — Joe Kress (talk) 22:45, 24 November 2013 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 19 February 2014[edit]

XvXSkittleDemonXvX (talk) 00:35, 19 February 2014 (UTC) I would like to say that The Mayflower Compact was signed by 41 english colonists who were on the Mayflower on November 11, 1620 was the first written framework of goverment established in what is now what we call the United States.The compact was drafted to prevent dissent amongst Puritans and non-separatist Pilgrims who had landed at Plymoth a few days later.

The Mayflower not only carried pilgrims but alson carried other settlers as well.When it arrived at Cape Cod several hundred miles North of its planned destination in Virginia owing the time due to storms at sea,the passengers realized they were outside the bound of the goverment authority they had contracted with in England.XvXSkittleDemonXvX (talk) 00:35, 19 February 2014 (UTC)

Not done: please be more specific about what needs to be changed. — {{U|Technical 13}} (tec) 00:43, 19 February 2014 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 2 April 2017[edit] (talk) 18:55, 2 April 2017 (UTC)
Not done: it's not clear what changes you want to be made. Please mention the specific changes in a "change X to Y" format. — IVORK Discuss 21:40, 2 April 2017 (UTC)

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Is the storm incident true?[edit]

Some people here delete the mentions of that event, so I am a bit puzzled to see it in the article.

"The Mayflower was originally bound for the Colony of Virginia, financed by the Company of Merchant Adventurers of London. Storms forced them to anchor at the hook of Cape Cod in what is now Massachusetts; it was unwise to continue with provisions running short." --Cristian.nt (talk) 03:24, 5 July 2017 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 22 February 2018[edit]

In November 1620, the Mayflower anchored at Provincetown Mass. where they spent five weeks before sailing to what is now Plymouth, named after the major port city in Devon, England from which she sailed. The settlers named their settlement "New Plimoth" or "Plimouth", the most common spelling used by William Bradford in his journal Of Plimoth Plantation.[7]

Add: "Provincetown, Mass. where they spent five weeks before sailing to" Before: "what is now Plymouth"

Sources: Annsaxtonmurphy (talk) 17:39, 22 February 2018 (UTC)

 Partly done: Removed that paragraph since it was both inaccurate and irrelevant. Mayflower did not anchor off Plymouth until December and the spelling of Plymouth is not relevant to the Compact drawn up before Plymouth was even named. Eggishorn (talk) (contrib) 20:33, 23 February 2018 (UTC)