The purpose of studying the Mayflower Compact and its place in our history is to develop an understanding of how this first experiment in self-government carne about and how it led, in part, to our present democratic procedures of governance.
The Teacher's Guide is designed to develop a general appreciation of the history of the period. Questions may be assigned to individual students or to groups for research.
Basic materials students will need for study are: copies of the Mayflower Compact, good dictionaries, and general reference works. The limited bibliography included below suggests several primary sources and books for students. The Internet is also an excellent resource for children, and the addresses of several websites are provided.
QUESTIONS FOR STUDY:
The Mayflower Compact contains some words and phrases that are difficult to understand. Look up these words and discuss them with your classmates and teacher.
The Mayflower Passengers who traveled to the New World for religious reasons were called "Separatists." What did this term mean? What did their beliefs lead them to do?
Some Separatists settled for several years in Holland. Why did they settle there? Why did they decide to leave after a generation?
Those who settled a decade later in Massachusetts Bay were called "Puritans." How were their religious views different from those of the Separatists at Plymouth? How did each of the two colonies treat people who had beliefs different from their own?
About half of those who sailed on the Mayflower did not go for religious reasons. Why might these people have wanted to leave England?
When the Mayflower reached Cape Cod, why did the passengers feel it was necessary to draw up the Mayflower Compact?
What parts (these may be words, phrases, or ideas) of the Compact forecast the way we govern ourselves today?
Bradford, William. Of Plymouth Plantation, 1620-1647. Edited by Samuel Morison. New York: Knopf, 1976.
Heath, Dwighl B., ed. Mourt's Relations: A Journal of the Pilgrims at Plymouth. Cambridge/Boston: ApplewoodBooks, 1986.
Wood, William. New England's Prospects, Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1977. Winslow, Edward. Good Newes from New England. 1624. Reprint. Bedford, Mass.: ApplewoodBooks, 1996.
Barth, Edna. Turkeys, Pilgrims, and Indian Corn: The Story of the Thanksgiving Symbols. Clarion Books, 1975.
Clapp, Patricia. Constance: A Story of Early Plymouth. Beech Tree Paperback Books, 1991.
George, Jean Craighead. The First Thanksgiuing. Philomel Books, 1993.
Manitongquat. The Children of the Morning Light. Macrnillan, 1994.
Stein, Conrad R. The Pilgrims. Chicago: Children's Press, 1995.
General Society of Mayflower Descendants
Pilgrim Hall Museum
Society of Mayflower Descendants (Pennsylvania)
The Pilgrims and Plymouth Colony: 162O
The Mayflower Compact Teacher's Guide and the Mayflower Compact are provided here for use in educating your students. Please feel free to make as many copies of the Compact and guide as you wish. The material is not copyrighted.
The Mayflower Compact was the first constitution in America, binding its signers and their familes to honor the laws passed by the majority. Our society is pleased to provide you with the text of this important document and these educational materials.
We hope that these materials help your students learn more about this important time in our nation's history. If you have any suggestions for us about how to improve the teacher's guide, or any comments in general, please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Below is the Mayflower Compact, signed in the cabin of the "Mayflower" on Nov. 21st, 1620 (which would be Nov. 11th of the Old Style Calendar).
"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 those presents solemnly and mutually in the presence of God, and of one another covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil body politic, for our better ordering and preservation and futherance 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 hereof we have hereunder subscribed our names at Cape Cod the 11 of November, in the year in the reign of our sovereign Lord King James of England, France , and of Ireland the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth. Anno. Dom. 1620."
Signers of the Mayflower Compact include:
*The Mayflower Passengers from whom descent has been proven.
**Includes descent from wife or child on the Mayflower.
The Mayflower Passengers who were too young to sign the compact, but from whom descent has been proven:
Richard More and Henry Samson