On November 11, 1620, off the coast of Cape Cod, forty-one passengers of the Mayflower signed what is now known as the Mayflower Compact. Some passengers of the Mayflower were fleeing religious persecution; others were adventurers and tradesmen looking for a new life in a new land.
This was the first document, signed by individuals on these shores, that provided for the creation of a government, among the people, by the consent of the governed, to organize a society under "just and equal laws." A small and humble beginning to what eventually became a nation founded under the philosophy that all people are created equal, and that they have the inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The Compact states, inter alia:
...do by these presents, solemnly and mutually, in the presence of God, and one 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.
These people, who we now call Pilgrims, endured a difficult journey through the rough Atlantic ocean winter waters, and landed in an new land, where they faced deprivations, starvation, and attack by native Americans.
Yet in the face of all these obstacles, they not only survived, they prospered, and their sons and daughters, and their grandsons and granddaughters, founded a nation that twice saved the world from tyranny; that put a human being on the moon, and has always been the last, best hope for freedom and peace on this planet.
As we gather with family and friends and give thanks for our freedom and prosperity, let us spend a moment and remember it all began with a small group of people who risked their lives so that they would be free to worship as they pleased.
H. Rumpole. Esq., Blog Proprietor.
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