Brian Mark Weber / Nov. 13, 2020

The Mayflower Compact’s Foundation for Liberty

400 years ago this week, the Pilgrims at Plymouth signed a lasting document.

This week marks a historic but increasingly underappreciated event in American history: the signing of the Mayflower Compact some 400 years ago. The Compact contains fewer than 200 words, but the power of those words established the important precepts of religious liberty that many of us take for granted today.

Time was when every boy and girl knew the inspirational story of the Pilgrims and this quintessential American document, and we celebrated it as part of the fabric of our civilization. Unfortunately, if today’s students have even heard of the Mayflower, it’s likely a revisionist telling that leaves young people wishing the Puritans hadn’t come to the New World at all.

“This once well-known story barely stirs a connection with Thanksgiving — much less with America’s earliest foundations of civil and religious liberty,” writes missionary Chris Lascellas. “Compounding the problem, the pandemic of 2020 has cancelled public celebrations that would have put a spotlight on this pivotal moment in history.”

When we imagine more than a hundred people spending more than two months aboard a single wooden ship, crossing the stormy Atlantic, lacking warm clothing and food, susceptible to disease, and discovering a desolate, cold wilderness when they arrived, we can also imagine how important freedom of worship must have been to them.

While this first iteration of freedom was imperfect, the idea that people could voluntarily come together and form a social compact for the good of everyone laid the cornerstone of our American civilization. Today, the Pilgrims would instantly recognize the threat to Liberty posed by authoritarian COVID-19 mandates and by the criminalization of people gathering to worship or to simply discuss public affairs. It’s precisely this type of governance-by-fiat they sought freedom from in the New World.

“The Mayflower passengers decided that their freedom and security would not depend upon an all-powerful Leviathan,” writes The Heritage Foundation’s Joseph Loconte. “It would depend upon their ability to govern themselves, to submit to laws that they themselves had written. The Mayflower Compact, signed on November 11, 1620, broke ranks with English political theory and practice, in which unelected monarchs issued decrees and ruled by divine right.”

Four-hundred years later, our religious and civil liberties are in the crosshairs of a government growing ever more like Thomas Hobbes’s Leviathan and further away from the ideals of our Founders. As Loconte adds, “The Pilgrims introduced into the West an unprecedented experiment in consensual government, involving not a monarch but individuals acting on their own initiative.”

To students of the historically inaccurate 1619 Project, this may seem hard to believe, but the ideals in both the Mayflower Compact and later the Declaration of Independence are wholly incompatible with the idea of one human being ruling over others without their consent.

Indeed, the abolition of slavery in the West may not have occurred without this important development in political philosophy, and we certainly wouldn’t have enjoyed these centuries of religious liberty now being threatened by modern-day Leviathans on the Left.

In classrooms across America, our children no longer learn about the Mayflower Compact. Instead, they’re told that America is an oppressor and an irredeemably racist regime that can be cured only by abandoning the principles that made this country a beacon of hope around the world.

This brings us to a crossroads in the 21st century: Either we follow the beliefs of the 1619 Project, or we rediscover those of the 1620 Mayflower Compact. To those who believe in the freedoms of speech, religion, equality, and self-governance, the choice couldn’t be more clear.

Start a conversation using these share links:

Who We Are

The Patriot Post is a highly acclaimed weekday digest of news analysis, policy and opinion written from the heartland — as opposed to the MSM’s ubiquitous Beltway echo chambers — for grassroots leaders nationwide. More

What We Offer

On the Web

We provide solid conservative perspective on the most important issues, including analysis, opinion columns, headline summaries, memes, cartoons and much more.

Via Email

Choose our full-length Digest or our quick-reading Snapshot for a summary of important news. We also offer Cartoons & Memes on Monday and Alexander’s column on Wednesday.

Our Mission

The Patriot Post is steadfast in our mission to extend the endowment of Liberty to the next generation by advocating for individual rights and responsibilities, supporting the restoration of constitutional limits on government and the judiciary, and promoting free enterprise, national defense and traditional American values. We are a rock-solid conservative touchstone for the expanding ranks of grassroots Americans Patriots from all walks of life. Our mission and operation budgets are not financed by any political or special interest groups, and to protect our editorial integrity, we accept no advertising. We are sustained solely by you. Please support The Patriot Fund today!

★ PUBLIUS ★

“Our cause is noble; it is the cause of mankind!” —George Washington

The Patriot Post is protected speech, as enumerated in the First Amendment and enforced by the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, in accordance with the endowed and unalienable Rights of All Mankind.

Copyright © 2021 The Patriot Post. All Rights Reserved.

The Patriot Post does not support Internet Explorer. We recommend installing the latest version of Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome.