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The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, situated in New England, is one of the original 13 colonies. Boston is its capital, and it is known as the "Cradle of Liberty" because it was the home to many of the ideas and founders of the American Revolution. It is also home to Plymouth, which was the second English settlement in North America. They were to land at land owned by Virginia Company but were off, landing several hundred miles north of that land in Virginia. They, in fact, had no authority to inhabit the land where they landed, but they established the Plymouth Colony there anyway. Plymouth Rock is the traditional landing place of the Mayflower in September of 1620, which was carrying the Pilgrims, though it was, historians say, actually in Cape Cod. Either way, the rock at Plymouth is still celebrated as the landing place. That rock is dated and now surrounded by a protective fence and roof. About forty-one Puritans, who called themselves the “Saints,” joined a larger group of more secular people, called the “Strangers” for the journey, and when they reached the New World, they reached an agreement between them which they called the Mayflower Compact. It was meant to ensure that the two “factions” of Pilgrims could live side-by-side with little dissent. They signed it on November 11, 1620 and was first written framework of the government of the colonies. The original Compact was lost along the way, but William Bradford, who later became the colony’s governor, wrote the exact language of the document, along with a list of the signers, in his journal. The Compact was signed by every adult male before they were allowed to go ashore and bound them to accept whatever form of government was established, creating a “Civil Body Politic” which would enact “just and equal Laws, Ordinances, Acts, Constitutions and Offices. Plimoth Plantation, a living history museum founded in 1947, shows visitors what the colony was like when the Pilgrims lived there.

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