In today’s society, American citizens tend to believe that America has been, “American” since the day that Christopher Columbus set foot in the Bahamas. This is a myth that has been in our society for a multitude of years now. In A New England Town by Kenneth A. Lockridge, he proves that America was not always democratic. Additionally, he proves that America has not always been “American”, by presenting the town of Dedham in 1635. Lockridge presents this town through the course of over one hundred years, in that time many changes happened as it made its way to a type of democracy.
In general, people believe that America has always been a democracy, but that myth is dispelled by Lockridge with the introduction of Dedham. The definition of democracy according to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary is “a form of government in which people choose leaders by voting”. This is exceptionally important, as Lockridge tends to bring up Dedham’s community and their politics throughout the chapters. At first Dedham was occupied by Puritans and Peasants that traveled to America for a chance at either a new life out of poverty or a chance to earn more money. In 1635 the general court passed a petition that granted people the land to the south of Watertown. People built a town on the land and soon named it Dedham. The town was predominately occupied by Puritans that created a document called the Covenant that provided laws, names, and other important information to keep the town secure and under control. Dedham had a political system in which the citizens would all gather in the town and vote over issues and certain topics. While this system was beneficial as everyone had a word of sorts, it was a very time consuming and inefficient...
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...4). This tie to the community meant that religion was very strong and very intertwined into the society. Over the hundred years that were observed by Lockridge. Dedham went through many changes to their Political, social, and religious ways as they developed into new religions, new politics and new ways of being social.
In conclusion, Dedham, a town founded in 1635 was a utopia that contained traces of early Americanism. Additionally, it transformed from a more open political view to a more democratic society. While, the town itself was not American and could not be as it was established prior to the founding of the United States of America, it still contained many cases where Americanism could be found. Lastly, the social side of Dedham transformed from a more community driven society where it was very strict and controlled to a more open and still very social town.
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