Plymouth Colony

On Christmas Day in 1620, a band of weary and seasick Pilgrims landed on the coast of Massachusetts at a place called Plymouth. There were 104 persons in the group—50 men, 20 women, and 34 children—who had left England to find a place where they might have the freedom to worship God in their own way.
Before the Pilgrims left the ship, they drew up the famous “Mayflower Compact.” Every man signed his name to this document—the first example of a democratic system of government by voluntary agreement by free men of equal rights. President John Quincy Adams called this historic compact the seed of democracy in America.
The Compact reads in part as follows: “Having undertaken, for the glory of God and the honor of our King, to plant the first colony in the northern parts of Virginia, [we] do solemnly and mutually, in the presence of God and of one another, covenant and combine ourselves into a civic body politic, for our better ordering and preservation, and by virtue hereto to enact, constitute, and frame such just and equal laws, ordinances, constitutions, and offices for the convenience and general good of the colony.”
The first winter was cold and harsh and before it was over, one half of the colonists had perished from cold and exposure. But to show the courage and determination of the Pilgrims, when the “Mayflower” set sail for England in the spring of 1621 not a single one of the colonists returned home.
During the spring and summer they planted corn and other crops, and at autumn time, the colonists decided to hold a harvest festival to celebrate their first harvest in the new world. The Pilgrims invited their Indian friends to join them in this first Thanksgiving Day when they offered up their sincere prayers of thanks to God for His watch-care over their little band of pioneers. So the early Pilgrim settlers, though few in number, wrote another bold chapter in the history of a Nation Under God.

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