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When the Pilgrims reached the New World they were far off course from their intended destination of Northern Virginia. The patent that they traveled under, the First Peirce Patent, granted them the right to establish a colony in Virginia north of Jamestown. Due to storms at sea they landed far north off the coast of present day Massachusetts. Because they landed off course, members of the expedition questioned the validity of the patent, some believed the agreement was invalid, and questioned how the colony would be ruled. Before leaving the Mayflower, the male members of the group met to determine a solution for governing the new colony. They wrote and signed the Mayflower Compact, which detailed the rules for living in a civil environment that allowed for separation of Church and stated that the colony be governed by laws that were just and equal. The men signed and implemented the Mayflower Compact on November 21, 1620. Once the Mayflower Compact was in place, the inhabitants of the colony applied for and received a new patent albeit a temporary one that only became permanent after the colony survived for seven years.
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