Colonial Government and Politics

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Why was the Mayflower Compact important to the founding of our country?

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People typically say that the Mayflower Compact was important to the founding of our country because it established the ideas of self-government, of democracy, and of written constitutions.  These became some of the most basic values of our government.

The Mayflower Compact is a very short document.  In it, the 41 white men who signed said that they were agreeing to be ruled by a government that they would set up.  In other words, they were all consenting to be ruled by the government.  About 150 years later, Thomas Jefferson would write that government got its powers from the consent of the people.  In the Mayflower Compact, the people (or at least the white men who were not servants) were consenting to be governed.  The Compact also said that people would get together from time to time to vote on laws.  This is a fundamental aspect of democracy.  Another fundamental aspect of democracy is the idea that laws should apply to everyone equally.  The Compact says that the laws they will make will be “just and equal laws.”  Overall, this is a constitution of sorts because it is a written document saying what their government will have the power to do.

Because the Mayflower Compact included all of these things that became important to American government, it is typically seen as an important document in the founding of our country.

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