Agreement Made By Pilgrims For Their Self Government


As more and more settlers arrived and colonized the surrounding areas, a court was set up. Each city chose representatives to visit the court, creating an early representative government. While they intended to form a government for their new colony, pilgrims and others aboard the Mayflower did not declared their independence: the Mayflower Compact (although the pilgrims never called it that) began with a clear declaration of allegiance to King James of England, as well as a commitment to God and Christianity. Colonial assemblies had a variety of titles, such as House of Delegates, House of Burgesses or Assembly of Freemen. The assemblies were made up of representatives elected by the Free and Denern (landowners) of the province. Generally, the meetings met in a single, short session, although the Council or Governor was able to convene an extraordinary meeting and sometimes did not convene. The 102 passengers on the Mayflower were divided into two groups. Only 41 of them were pilgrims – religious dissidents known as separatists who had fled England for the Netherlands. Now they were looking for a new life in America, where they could practice their religion as they had chosen. Other passengers described as “foreigners” by pilgrims included merchants, craftsmen, skilled workers and servants, as well as several young orphans. All were ordinary people. About a third of them were children. Before leaving the ship, the pilgrims decided to reach an agreement to reunite them and the “foreigners” to ensure that all the inhabitants of the new colony complied with the same laws.

The result, a document designed and signed by almost all adult male passengers on board the ship, would be known as the Mayflower Compact. French fishermen, explorers and fur traders made important contacts with the Algonquian. The Algonquians, on the other hand, tolerated the French because the settlers supplied them with firearms for their ongoing war with the Iroquois. Thus the French found themselves in the indigenous wars and the support of the Algonquians against the Iroquais who received weapons from their Dutch trading partners. These 17th century conflicts focused on the lucrative beaver fur trade and were named after the beaver wars. During these wars, fighting spread between rival Native American peoples throughout the Great Lakes region. The agreement was also based on the secular tradition of the social contract, the idea of alliances between men themselves, which date back to antiquity, but which were later made famous by philosophers such as Thomas Hobbes, John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

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