EPTEMBER 16, 1620, according to the Gregorian Calendar, 102 passengers set sail on the Pilgrims' ship, Mayflower.
Their 66-day journey of 2,750 miles encountered storms so rough the beam supporting the main mast cracked and was propped back in place with "a great iron screw."
One youth, John Howland, was swept overboard by a freezing wave and rescued. His descendants include Ralph Waldo Emerson, Humphrey Bogart, Franklin D. Roosevelt and George W. Bush.
During the Pilgrims' voyage, a man died and a mother gave birth.
Intending to land in Virginia, they were blown off-course.
Of the Pilgrims' landing at Plymouth, Massachusetts, Governor William Bradford wrote:
"Being thus arrived in a good harbor, and brought safe to land, they fell upon their knees and blessed the God of Heaven who had brought them over the vast and furious ocean, and delivered them from all the perils and miseries thereof, again to set their feet on the firm and stable earth, their proper element."
Though half died that first bitter winter, Governor William Bradford wrote:
"Last and not least, they cherished a great hope and inward zeal of laying good foundations...for the propagation and advance of the gospel of the kingdom of Christ in the remote parts of the world."
Franklin D. Roosevelt state in 1939 of America's founding:
"Rulers...increase their power over the common men.
The seamen they sent to find gold found instead the way of escape for the common man from those rulers... What they found
over the Western horizon was not the silk and jewels of Cathay but MANKIND'S SECOND CHANCE - a chance to create a new world after he had almost spoiled an old one...
...The Almighty seems purposefully to have withheld that SECOND CHANCE until the time when men would most need and appreciate liberty...
Those who came...had courage...to abandon language and relatives...to start...without influence, without money...
Perhaps Providence did prepare this American continent to be a place of the SECOND CHANCE."
At the Bicentennial Celebration of the landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock, Secretary of State Daniel Webster stated December 22, 1820:
"There is a...sort of genius of the place, which...awes us.
We feel that we are on the spot where the first scene of our history was laid; where the hearths and altars of New England were first placed; where Christianity, and civilization...made their first lodgement, in a vast extent of country...
'If God prosper us,' might have been the... language of our fathers, when they landed upon this Rock, '...we shall here begin a work which shall last for ages... We shall fill this region of the great continent...with civilization and Christianity..."
Daniel Webster continued:
"The morning that beamed...saw the Pilgrims already at home...a government and a country were to commence, with the very first foundations laid under the divine light of the Christian religion...
Our ancestors established their system of government on morality and religious sentiment...Whatever makes men good Christians, makes them good citizens.
Our fathers came here to enjoy their religion free and unmolested; and, at the end of two centuries, there is nothing upon which we can pronounce more confidently...than of the inestimable importance of that religion to man..."
Daniel Webster warned:
"We are bound...to convince the world that order and law, religion and morality, the rights of conscience, the rights of persons, and the rights of property, may all be preserved and secured, in the most perfect manner, by a government entirely and purely elective.
If we fail in this, our disaster will be signal, and will furnish an argument...in support of those opinions which maintain that government can rest safely on nothing but power and coercion..."
Continuing his 1820 speech, Daniel Webster added a rebuke:
"The African slave-trader is a pirate and a felon; and in the sight of Heaven, an offender far beyond the ordinary depth of human guilt...
If there be...any participation in this traffic, let us pledge ourselves here, upon the rock of Plymouth, to extirpate and destroy it...
I invoke the ministers of our religion, that they proclaim its denunciation of these crimes, and add its solemn sanctions to the authority of human laws.
If the pulpit be silent whenever or wherever there may be a sinner bloody with this guilt within the hearing of its voice, the pulpit is false to its trust..." The Original 13-A Documentary History of Religion in America's First Thirteen States
Daniel Webster reflected further:
"Whoever shall hereafter write this part of our history...will be able to record no...lawless and despotic acts, or any successful usurpation.
His page will contain no exhibition of...civil authority habitually trampled down by military power, or of a community crushed by the burden of taxation...
He will speak...of that happy condition, in which the restraint and coercion of government are almost invisible and imperceptible..."
Daniel Webster added:
"Finally, let us not forget the religious character of our origin.
Our fathers were brought hither by their high veneration for the Christian religion.
They journeyed by its light, and labored in its hope.
They sought to incorporate its principles with the elements of their society, and to diffuse its influence through all their institutions, civil, political, or literary.
Let us cherish these sentiments, and extend this influence still more widely; in the full conviction, that that is the happiest society which partakes in the highest degree of the mild and peaceful spirit of Christianity..."
Daniel Webster concluded:
"Advance, then, ye future generations!
We would hail you, as you rise in your long succession, to fill the places which we now fill...
We welcome you to the blessings of good government and religious
We welcome you to...the happiness of kindred, and parents, and children.
We welcome you to the immeasurable blessings of rational existence, the immortal hope of Christianity, and the light of everlasting truth!"
The Plymouth Rock Foundation was founded in 1970 with the mission:
"To make more widely known and understood the Pilgrim principles and characteristics - their devotion to God and the Bible, to freedom and to tolerance, and their embodiment of courage, brotherhood, and individual moral character...
We also seek to make better known the ideas and achievements of later generations of Americans who followed after the Pilgrims in both spirit and deed, forging our nation's Christian heritage."
The first Executive Director of the Plymouth Rock Foundation was Dr. Charles Hull Wolfe, a dedicated Marxist who changed views after conducting his own independent study of American economics.
Dr. Charles Hull Wolfe and Dr. D. James Kennedy wrote in Restoring the Real Meaning of Thanksgiving:
"When the brilliant Rev. Thomas Hooker left Boston and settled in Hartford, he promptly called for three Connecticut towns to join together in forming a colony.
Hooker followed the Pilgrim pattern and led the people of Connecticut in framing a written compact for civil self-government rooted in Mosaic tradition.
He used as his text, 'Take you wise men, and understanding, and known among your tribes, and I will make them rulers over you.' (Deuteronomy 1:13).
Hooker preached a scholarly sermon that guided the men of Connecticut in framing the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut in 1639, commonly called 'the world's first complete written constitution,' though, in fact, Plymouth had framed a complete constitutional charter, the Pilgrim Code of Law, three years before."
Dr. Paul Jehle, Executive Director of the Plymouth Rock Foundation, whose ancestors were on the Mayflower, wrote "Mayflower Compact Day" (Plymouth Rock Foundation's E-News, November, 2011):
"We remember when the Mayflower Compact was signed on board the Mayflower, while it lay anchored in what is now Provincetown Harbor, November 11, 1620...
A compact is a covenant... Since the Pilgrims were children of the Reformation, their view of covenant came from the Bible.
It was God that initiated the concept of covenant, first with Adam and Eve (Genesis 2:15-17 and 2:24). God also made a covenant with Noah in Genesis 9 and of course the process of 'cutting' covenant was depicted in visual form for Abraham in Genesis 15.
Throughout the Bible covenants were used both vertically (with God directly) and horizontally (with humans) to depict God's process of bringing people into unity with Him and one another.
Unity of purpose and harmony with God set the highest ideals for good behavior..."
Dr. Paul Jehle continued:
No wonder when Pastor Robinson sent his farewell letter to the Pilgrims upon their departure in 1620, knowing that they would need to form their own civil government, he gave this sound advice:
'Whereas you are become a body politic, using amongst yourselves civil government, and are not furnished with any persons of special eminency above the rest, to be chosen by you into office of government;
let your wisdom and godliness appear, not only in choosing such persons as do entirely love and will promote the common good... not being like the foolish multitude who more honor the gay coat than either the virtuous mind of the man, or glorious ordinance of the Lord.'"
Dr. Marshall Foster of the Mayflower Institute (now World History Institute) was co-producer of Kirk Cameron's film Monumental: In Search of America's National Treasure (2012).
Dr. Marshall Foster wrote in "A Shining City on a Hill (February 27, 2013):
"Four hundred years ago the conflict between tyranny and liberty was red hot...
When King James died in 1625, his son Charles I ascended to the throne with the arrogance of a Roman emperor. He was the quintessential 'divine right' monarch. He declared martial law and suspended the rights of the individual...
The king's inquisitors at his 'Star Chamber' in the tower of London used torture techniques to 'discover the taxpayer's assets'...
A turning point in public opinion took place on January 30, 1637. Three prisoners were locked down in the pillory in London before a huge crowd...
...These men included a Puritan minister, a Christian writer and Dr. John Bastwick, a physician.
What was their crime? They had written pamphlets disagreeing with the king's religious views. The sheriff began by branding the men with red hot irons on the forehead with an SL for seditious libel...
The tyranny of the king...finally aroused the Christian sensibilities of the people. They would no longer tolerate burnings or mutilations for matters of conscience on religious views...
The persecutions drove tens of thousands of liberty loving believers to follow the Pilgrims to New England where they laid the foundation for the world's most biblically based nation."