According to popular history, democracy, acceptance and equal opportunities for all, were integral parts of society in the United States ever since the settlement of the New England colonies. In Lockridge 's book, he attempts to dispel these myths by using the New England town of Dedham as a case study showing that although Dedham had some these uniquely 'American ' aspects, the majority of them were in fact gradually developed over time.
Lockridge refers to Dedham as a “Christian Utopian Closed Corporate Community”. This statement is antonymous to what is considered ‘American’ today. The town of Dedham was strictly governed by Puritan culture and anyone who deviated from them was shunned by the community. Furthermore, when the church was…show more content… However, as time passed by, the original utopian dream of the settlers in the 1600’s fell apart as it was not suited to the life in North America and was progressively being replaced by religious political and social reforms. The first major change that occurred was the execution of the ‘half way’ covenant which allowed children of saints who did not have the deep emotional and spiritual experience that was required for sainthood to join the church (except for communion) as long they demonstrated understanding and belief and conviction in Christianity and the bible. Initially, the Dedham church was unwilling to compromise in order to preserve the sanctity of their faith but the dwindling number of members and baptisms convinced them to reconsider. This was one of the first signs of the religious flexibility that is present in America…show more content… In addition, these selectmen were rarely voted in by the people as the position was almost hereditary and most selectmen served for long periods of time. On the other hand, in the 1700’s the right to vote became increasingly important where as previously it didn’t even exist. Furthermore, the world of politics in Dedham was no longer stagnant, alliances and candidates were constantly changing. People were now allowed to have their own opinions and candidates competed for popularity among the people since they now had the power of a vote as opposed to simply running the town unopposed. Moreover, the townspeople formed committees and town officers to help selectmen make positions so more people’s points of view were taken into consideration before decisions were