November 11 - 1620 - The Mayflower Compact
The Mayflower Compact was one of the first governing documents in England's American colonies, establishing a basic framework and social contract among the people who sailed on the Mayflower and established the Plymouth Colony. On the other hand, the people on board the Mayflower were not in the situation they thought they would be in when they hit America. The Mayflower's voyage was organized by a group of Separatists, people who wanted to separate themselves from the Church of England because they believed it was too corrupt. Yet they could not make a full colony by themselves. Instead, they had other people, who they referred to as "Strangers" while calling themselves "Saints," join them on their journey. The voyage was problematic, with a planned second ship, the Speedwell, not being able to make it into open seas. This delay meant they faced serious gale winds in the North Atlantic, which made the trip rough. Then they arrived well north of their intended target of Jamestown. With their ship forced to stay on Cape Cod, the men of the Mayflower realized they needed to agree to some kind of compact as they would winter on board an anchored Mayflower.