What is the Mayflower Compact?
The Mayflower Compact is an agreement signed by settlers who came to what is now the United States aboard the ship Mayflower. In this document, the men (the document was signed only by male heads of households) agree to be governed by a government that they will set up. This document is important in American history because it is the first written framework for a government produced anywhere in what is now the United States.
When the Pilgrims and others left England on the Mayflower, they expected to go to Virginia. They had made a deal with the government in Virginia to live there. However, storms blew them off course and they landed far to the north. They decided to stay there, but they did not have a legitimate government set up at that point. They felt that they needed to set up a government that they all could agree to. They especially needed the non-Pilgrims to agree to obey the government. In the Mayflower Compact, they did this. They agreed to have a government and to obey that government. This was the first time that a written agreement had been produced in what is now the US that set up a government in this way. Because our Constitution is so important to us, we feel that the Mayflower Compact is important because we can call it the first constitution created on what is now American soil.