Signed November 11, 1620
The Mayflower Compact was the first formal framework of government established in what is now the United States of America.
The concept of One-Man-One-Vote was embodied in the document, which was signed on board the Mayflower shortly after it arrived in Plimoth Harbor. The Pilgrims intended to settle near the mouth of the Hudson River (where New York City is located today), however, dangerous weather forced them to make landfall far north of their original destination.
An argument broke out among the 102 passengers when the Mayflower dropped anchor. Several of the Pilgrims on board argued that since the Cape Cod area was outside their intended landfall, the agreed-upon rules and regulations laid forth by the English no longer applied.
The Pilgrim leaders thus drafted the Mayflower Compact to establish an authority on their new land. The document was a formal attempt to establish a legally binding self-governing body.
A century later, another group of men were united by self-evident truths that “all men are created equal” and they wrote a document that began with the words “We the People” – the United States Constitution.