The Mayflower Compact was signed aboard ship on November 11, 1620 by most adult men. Signing the covenant were 41 of the ship’s 101 passengers, while the Mayflower was anchored in what is now Provincetown Harbor within the hook at the northern tip of Cape Cod.
- The Mayflower Compact was based simultaneously upon a majoritarian model (even though the signers were not in the majority) and the settlers’ allegiance to the king.
- The settlers named their settlement “Plimoth” or “Plimouth”, using the Early Modern English spellings of the early 17th century.
- Although the original document has been lost, three versions exist from the 17th century: printed in Mourt’s Relation (1622), which was reprinted in Purchas his Pilgrimes (1625), hand written by William Bradford in his journal Of Plimoth Plantation (1646), and printed by Bradford’s nephew Nathaniel Morton in New-Englands Memorial (1669).
- William Bradford wrote the first part of Mourt’s Relation, including its version of the compact, so he wrote two of the three versions.
- The wording of those two versions is indeed quite similar, unlike that of Morton.
- A list of 41 male passengers who signed the document was supplied by Bradford’s nephew Nathaniel Morton in his 1669 New England’s Memorial.
- Because the original document has been lost, Morton (1669) is our sole source for the signers.
- Morton’s arrangement of names is probably not the arrangement of names on the original document, and the names may not have been arranged in any orderly fashion.
- The first and fourth short columns were joined into the first long column (headed Carver with Turner halfway down), the second and fifth short columns were joined into the second long column (headed Samuel Fuller with Priest halfway down), and the third and sixth short columns were joined into the third long column (headed Edward Tilley with Clarke halfway down), changing their order.