SAT Subject US History Practice Question 900: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 900

71. The Mayflower Compact can best be characterized as

A. the first written constitution in the New World.
B. a peace accord that settled competing territorial claims between the Puritans and Native Americans.
C. the colonial government in Massachusetts Bay Colony.
D. a statement of religious principles.
E. a formal agreement signed by the Puritans that created a democratic process.

Correct Answer: E


Attempting to improve their chances of survival in the New World, the Puritans signed the Mayflower Compact. It did not create specific laws to be followed by the community but was merely an agreement to abide by the will of the majority in establishing the colony. The first written constitution in the New World (A) is considered to be the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut, which was a comprehensive plan of government. Fighting between English colonists and Native Americans (B) only ended when Native Americans were pushed beyond European settlements; there was no successful comprehensive accord. The Mayflower Compact was signed by 41 out of the 102 people who sailed to the New World on the Mayflower, but it was not the basis of the government established in the Massachusetts Bay Colony (C). In fact, Plymouth Colony, founded by the Puritans on the Mayflower, was not originally part of Massachusetts Bay Colony, which was founded a few years after the arrival of the Mayflower. The Puritans wrote many documents outlining their religious beliefs and practices (D), but the Mayflower Compact was not one of them.

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