The Fundamental Orders of Connecticut

(Acknowledgment: The following is the preface and edited version of the Fundamental Orders from Living American Documents, selected and edited by Isidore Starr, Lewis Paul Todd, and Merle Curti, ©1961 Harcourt, Brace & Co., inc.)

"The British people do not have a written constitution. They have an "unwritten" constitution composed of customs, traditions, and the important documents such as their Magna Carta and their Bill of Rights.

Some of the Englishmen who settled in the American colonies, including the men who founded the colony of Connecticut in 1636, did not have much faith in this approach to government. Unpleasant memories of recent authoritarian acts by England's rulers prompted the Connecticut settlers to put their plan of government into writing.

The Fundamental Orders of Connecticut was the first written constitution in America. Whereas the Mayflower Compact was a general statement in favor of majority rule and government in the interest of the common welfare, the Fundamental Orders set up a detailed scheme of government in which the sovereign power rested with the freemen. No mention was made of the king.

This document was a step in the direction of present-day democracy in that it set the example of a written constitution as the basis of government - a constitution which could be read and understood by all and which could not be changed by the will of one man or a small group."

East Hampton was a confederated township within the colony of Connecticut from 1657 until 1666 when it was brought into the colony of New York (under protest) by the Nicholls pattent. The town citizens of East Hampton cherished the liberties which they exercised within the colony of Connecticut. The MFOP, as the trustee corporation of Montauk, is a direct descendant of the town government of East Hampton at that time. We are intent on asserting and exercising these same fundamental rights and purposes as put forth in this document. Many of the principles of governance contained within the Fundamental Orders are to be incorporated in the Articulated Rights and Constitution of the MFOP/Montauk Trustee Corporation.

See: The Society of Coloial Wars in the State of Connecticut for a full version of the Fundamental Orders and other info.