The Pilgrims, Mayflower Compact, and Thanksgiving
The Mayflower Compact was the written agreement of the “Pilgrims” in November of 1620. They had traveled across the Atlantic Ocean on the ship “Mayflower,” which was anchored near Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The Mayflower Compact was written to express the will of the majority through fair and equal laws for the general good of the settlement.
“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 England, France and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, e&.
Having undertaken for the Glory of God, and Advancement of the Christian Faith, and the Honour 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 Politick, 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 hereunto subscribed our names at Cape Cod the eleventh of November, in the Reign of our Sovereign Lord, King James of England, France and Ireland, the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth. Anno Domini, 1620.”
The Mayflower Compact was an inspired document for bringing together a group of people as a “civil Body Politick.” However, the Pilgrims were sadly unprepared for their first harsh winter in the New World. More than half of them died of exposure and starvation before spring of 1621.
By the following winter, an English-speaking Indian named Squanto befriended the Pilgrims and taught them how to build durable homes and grow maize. Governor William Bradford wrote that Squanto was “a special instrument sent by God for their good beyond their expectations…” In the late fall of 1621, the Pilgrims, Squanto, Chief Massasoit, and the Wampanoag people feasted on maize and wild game, giving thanks to God. Many historians consider this gathering the “first Thanksgiving” on American soil.
Happy Thanksgiving from Drive Thru History