The Mayflower Compact: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Philip McMurry

Philip has taught college history, English, and political science, and he has a doctorate in American history.

In this lesson, we'll examine the reasons for the Pilgrims move to Plymouth in 1620, and their establishment of the Mayflower Compact as the governing document of their colony.

Getting a Fresh Start

Imagine what it would be like to leave your home and move to a completely different country. How would it feel to have new neighbors who spoke a different language, had different customs, and ate different food? How would you react? Well, the document called the Mayflower Compact came from a very similar set of events. It was a document that united a group of English colonists in the New World under a single representative government.

A Difficult Time

In the early 1600s, there was great religious confusion in England because Catholics and Protestants were both struggling to dominate, or take over, the religious and political life of the country. Stuck in the middle was the Church of England (or the Anglican Church), which attempted to maintain some Catholic practices, but separated from the Catholic leadership in Rome.

The creators of the Mayflower Compact, the Pilgrims, were a group of English dissenters, which meant that they disagreed with some of the practices of the Church of England, specifically the practices that were similar to Catholicism. However, the king of England, James I, supported the Anglican Church and sometimes dealt harshly with dissenters. Believing that they would never be free from persecution, or punishment, at the hands of the English government, the Pilgrims decided to find a new place to live. They fled to Holland in 1608, planning to find ships to take them to the New World.

A New Home

After several mishaps, the Pilgrims set sail for the New World aboard a ship called the Mayflower in September 1620. Numbering just 102 individuals, they arrived off the coast of what is today Massachusetts in November so it was very cold. They were tired after the long journey of 66 days across the Atlantic Ocean. They were able to establish friendly relations with the Native Americans in the area and began to make plans to establish their new colony.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account
Support 福建福彩网 临海市 湖北省 钟祥市 大同市 兰溪市 湘潭市 松滋市 铁力市 彭州市 厦门市 宜春市 邹城市 彭州市 山东省 金昌市 平度市 海南省 双滦区 忻州市 葫芦岛市 十堰市 平度市 潞城市 临沂市 阜新市 普兰店市 汉川市 兴城市 都匀市 枣庄市 安达市 烟台市 高邮市 梅河口市 江油市 白银市 丰城市 孝义市 石首市 池州市 葫芦岛市 福建省 金华市 梅河口市 胶州市 上虞市 大石桥市 江阴市 吉首市 大庆市 铁力市 深州市 山西省 厦门市 项城市 永州市 原平市 明光市 耒阳市