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updated: 11/14/2017 11:09 AM

Another Nov. 11 event to remember

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Ninety-nine years ago, a piece of paper was signed by the French army's supreme commander, the British First Sea Lord, a German politician and their respective high assistants. This marked the end of "The Great War" in Europe and we were told "it would end all wars." Sure. And I enjoyed an extra holiday from school each year.

Earlier on 11/11/1620, another "paper" was signed by 41 adult men, the original settlers of "Plymouth Plantation" on the English ship Mayflower before disembarking.

Because of the change of course, the passengers were no longer within the jurisdiction of the charter granted in England by the Virginia Company. Into this legally uncertain situation, friction arose between the Separatists Pilgrims and other travelers; some of the latter threatened to leave the group and settle on their own.

This "paper" became the first step toward establishing a government which could claim legitimate authority to impose constraints on the conduct of colony inhabitants. Later, the declarations of the Plymouth Colony government would cite this "paper," now known as the Mayflower Compact, as the first step establishing a written law in the territory that is now the United States of America.

The Mayflower Compact became the foundation of Plymouth's government and remained in force until the colony was absorbed into the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1691.

Although in practice much of the power in Plymouth was guarded by the Pilgrim founders, the compact, with its fundamental principles of self-government and common consent, has been interpreted as an important step in the evolution of democratic government in America.

Should this 1620 "paper signing" have "grandfather rights" over later "November Eleventh" holiday observances?

Paul Tait

Mount Prospect

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