What Document Came First in American History?

When discussing American history, one of the most common questions that arise is, “What document came first?” The answer to this question lies in the early years of America’s foundation.

The First Document

The first document that can be considered significant in American history is the Mayflower Compact. This document was signed on November 11, 1620, by the Pilgrims who arrived on the Mayflower at Plymouth Rock. The compact was a written agreement that established a basic form of government for the new Plymouth Colony.

The Mayflower Compact has been described as America’s first true constitutional document. It was a revolutionary idea at the time because it allowed for self-government and democracy. The compact stated that laws would be created for the general good of the colony and that each person would have an equal say in these decisions.

The Importance of the Mayflower Compact

The Mayflower Compact set a precedent for future documents such as the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution. It established the concept of self-government and democracy, which became integral to American politics.

The compact also provided a framework for creating laws that would benefit everyone in the colony. This idea later evolved into representative government where elected officials create laws on behalf of their constituents.

The Declaration of Independence

While the Mayflower Compact is considered to be America’s first significant document, it was not until July 4, 1776, that another document would change America forever – The Declaration of Independence.

This historic document was written by Thomas Jefferson and signed by fifty-six delegates from thirteen colonies. The declaration declared independence from British rule and listed specific grievances against King George III. It also expressed fundamental principles such as human rights and government by consent of the governed.

The Impact of The Declaration of Independence

The Declaration of Independence inspired people all over the world to fight for their independence and freedom. Its principles influenced the French Revolution, which led to the overthrow of the monarchy in France.

The declaration also became a model for future revolutionary documents such as the Haitian Declaration of Independence, which was inspired by the American Declaration of Independence.

The US Constitution

The US Constitution is considered to be America’s most important document. It was written in 1787 and established America’s federal system of government. The Constitution established three branches of government – executive, legislative, and judicial – and created a system of checks and balances to prevent any one branch from becoming too powerful.

The Significance of The US Constitution

The US Constitution has been amended several times throughout history to reflect changing times and values. Its principles have influenced other countries’ constitutions around the world.

The Constitution provides a framework for America’s government that has lasted over two hundred years. It is a testament to the resilience and adaptability of American democracy.


In conclusion, while the Mayflower Compact was the first significant document in American history, it was The Declaration of Independence and The US Constitution that truly shaped America’s democracy. These documents set a precedent for self-government, human rights, and democracy that has become integral to American politics. Their influence has been felt not only in America but all over the world.