Historical Doldrums

I continuing my study of the documents listed at USHistory.org I came to the conclusion that neither the Letter from Columbus announcing his arrival in the West Indies, nor The Mayflower Compact really qualify in my mind as founding documents. The letter from Columbus has no political content at all. I was not really surprised by that, I had simply not noticed it in the list before. I had expected to find some insights in the Mayflower Compact but the only idea worth thinking about is the basic idea of the compact which was that the signers pledged to work together for the good of the colony rather than seeking their own personal comfort at the expense of others. I would think that arriving in a foreign land with no hope of contact with civilization that idea would be human instinct 101.

Though I was less than impressed with those documents, I have now arrived at documents from the 18th century so I hope to see more ideas that influenced the development of the society that brought us the constitution upon which our government is supposed to be based.

About David

David is the father of 8 extremely organized children (4 girls / 4 boys) who is constantly seeking answers to tough questions related to parenting, education and politics while moonlighting for 40 hours each week as a technology professional. He also enjoys cooking, gardening, and sports.

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Comments

5 Responses to Historical Doldrums

  1. Melissa says:

    Although this is not related to your posting, I wonder if you would be interested in seeing/posting about/reflecting on some political information related to the traditional family. The website is http://www.defendmarriage.org and they have an e-mail list there (that you can subscribe to) to keep current on legislation in various states about abortion rights, traditional families, gay rights, etc.

  2. David says:

    You’re right, that does not relate to this post, but I’ll look at defendmarriage.org and I might post my reactions this weekend.

  3. JP says:

    So I couldn’t help but want to respond to this post. I was a history major at BYU-Idaho and I focused a lot on the colonial period of American history. I also tutored American Heritage. All this is being said so I can let you know that the Mayflower Compact was of greater importance than you think. I can give you a quick history lesson, and for more you can see this website. (http://www.crf-usa.org/Foundation_docs/Foundation_lesson_mayflower.html) Here is the deal. The Mayflower was split half being pilgrims and half strangers or non-pilgrims. The strangers realized that the ship had not landed in British territory (the domain of the Virginia Company) so there was a near mutiny. The people on the ship knew a government was needed and knew that royal authority would not save them. When they say that “in the Presence of God and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil Body Politick, for our better Ordering and Preservation, and Furtherance” they create one of the worlds first modern self governments. Further the abundance of religious terminology establishes a pattern for the Puritan New England temperament which defines early American personality.

  4. David says:

    JP,

    Thanks for that background. I had believed that the Mayflower compact was important to our history, but when I read it I couldn’t see anything of unique value there. Knowing more of the details of the context in which it was written I am better able to see what an important precedent it set in our history.

  5. Pingback: David Miller » Blog Archive » Politics and Marriage

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