Julia L. Ernst, North Dakota Law, has published The Mayflower Compact: Celebrating Four Hundred Years of Influence on U.S. Democracy, North Dakota Law Review 95 (2020): 1-136. From the introduction:
–Dan Ernst (no relation)
The year 2020 marks the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower Compact, signed by the Pilgrims aboard the Mayflower anchored just offshore from the land that would become Plymouth Colony. This manuscript would become the historical precedent for future seminal documents in the formation of the American governmental system, including the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut, the U.S. Articles of Confederation, the Virginia Declaration of Rights, the Northwest Ordinance, and particularly the U.S. Constitution. As the nation commemorates the quadricentennial of the landing of the Pilgrims in 1620, this paper explores the influence the Mayflower Compact has had on the evolution of democracy in the United States over the past four centuries, tracing both the document’s precursors and its legacy. As many leaders in our country historically and today have endeavored to increase civic virtue and to foster broader participation in the democratic process, this article calls for a greater emphasis in law schools and other educational institutions on the Mayflower Compact and other additional formative documents that have helped shape our constitutional establishment of government.