Signed by 41 adult male passengers on the Mayflower while still at sea off the New England coast, the compact established a preliminary, majority-rule government for the Pilgrims. This lesson includes a reading, discussion and writing questions, and a class activity.
American colonists had some strong ideas about what they wanted in a government. These ideas surface in colonial documents, and eventually became a part of the founding documents like the Declaration of Independence and Constitution. But where did they come from? This lesson looks at the Magna Carta, Mayflower Compact, English Bill of Rights, Cato’s Letters and Common Sense.
This lesson provides students an opportunity to use primary source documents as they examine the philosophical origins of the natural rights philosophy of consent using Federalist # 1. It also uses John Locke’s Second Treatise on Government and the Mayflower Compact. The idea is to show how consent and choice are enlightenment ideas for government a nd could be done in America. This gave America a pragmatic view of the Enlightenment rather than an ideological view.