Sample The Mayflower Compact (Grades 5-7) Worksheet
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The Mayflower Compact
By Phyllis Naegeli
1 The passengers aboard the Mayflower included forty-one Separatists, religious dissenters, who left England to freely practice their beliefs. The remaining passengers included merchants, craftsmen, skilled workers, indentured servants, and some young orphans. These passengers were referred to as "strangers" by the Separatists (Pilgrims), and had been recruited to further the chances of survival in the new land. In order to pay for their passage on the Mayflower, the Pilgrims and "strangers" had signed a contract to share the profits of the venture with a group of London stockholders, led by a man named Thomas Weston. They also secured permission from the Virginia Company to occupy land in the northern part of Virginia.
2 On September 6, 1620, the Mayflower departed from Plymouth, England, for the trip to the new land. After the long journey, land was finally sighted on November 9. The captain of the Mayflower realized that they were far north of Virginia. After a few attempts to head south, the idea was abandoned due to rough seas and weather. The Mayflower landed in what later became Provincetown Harbor, and the "strangers" decided that they were no longer bound by the contract with the stockholders. The Pilgrims found themselves with a rebellion brewing before they had even begun their new life.
3 In order to bring about stability, the leaders of the Pilgrims decided they needed a governing authority. If they did not establish order and agree to work together, the venture would fail. They would most likely die in the rough, new land. The leaders drafted the agreement, which became known as the Mayflower Compact. It is believed to have been written by William Bradford. As an educated man, he would have been familiar with government documents, such as the English Magna Carta, used as a model in formulating the agreement.
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