The Pilgrims initially planned to travel on two ships, the Mayflower and the Speedwell. The Speedwell had picked up many of the Pilgrims in the Netherlands and met the Mayflower in England. The Speedwell began leaking, after departing with the Mayflower in August. After the two ships returned to England, the Speedwell was deemed to be un-seaworthy. Some the passengers on the Speedwell joined the already crowded Mayflower, while others decided to stay in England.
On September 6th1620, 102 settlers left Plymouth, England to found a new settlement. The passage was difficult and took two months. On November 9th they sighted land. The ship had arrived off of Cape Cod. The Mayflower attempted to travel south to the mouth of the Hudson, but found the passage difficult. With winter approaching, it was decided to go ashore further north. The colonists spent almost another month finding a place to land. Finally, they discovered a suitable place: Plymouth Harbor.
Before landing at Plymouth, the colonists united to create a document that would organize them. The colony was being established in an area not covered by their original charter. Thus, it needed a basis for how it would be governed. That document became known as "the Mayflower Compact". The compact established the colony as a self-governing body. All of the male adults would be given a vote, and in return they all agreed to follow the laws that would be passed.