Archive for April 23rd, 2012

The Mayflower Compact

Away back when I was coming up, historians were paid to show how America was founded on Plymouth Rock. Back then, one of the Great Documents of American history was the Plymouth Declaration.

Just before America’s real Founding Fathers, the first New Englanders, landed, they got together in an emergency session on board the ship and made this Compact.

Everybody but me, as always, nodded with a blissful smile and went back to sleep.

However, the story of the Mayflower Compact comes out like this. Here were hundreds of people who had set off to settle the New World. They went through hunger, disease, thirst, and storms, crossing the Atlantic. Then an unbelievable emergency arose:

They saw LAND!

This total surprise required them to get together and weave together how they were determined to SETTLE this land.

NO, I mean NO ONE, ever wondered why a group of people who had set off to America to settle the New World were so astonished to run into LAND.

When I set up the Oversight Committee staff for the House, my Associate Director was a Harvard grad from Boston. She was absolutely astonished to learn that Jamestown was actually there before Plymouth! So I am not talking about high school freshmen here. This question about the famous Mayflower Compact was simply never asked.

The Compact was written in emergency conditions, but no one asked why finding land should be an unexpected emergency.

The reason was, of course, that the Pilgrims were headed for a previous settlement, and got lost. The Compact was famous in Boston because it was the charter document of Massachusetts. But when the Compact suddenly became the founding document of the entirety of English America, the question never came up.

It didn’t come up at Harvard. It didn’t come up at other schools that depended on New England money, which after the Civil War, was about everybody.

If the question of WHY the Compact was written is ever raised, one is suddenly facing the question of why those who set out to BEGIN settling the New World were so astonished when they found LAND.

The Academic Silence Treatment is not new.