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 formed, it created and extra level of religious separation within Dedham as becoming a ‘Visible Saint’ or a church member was an incredibly arduous task and not everyone able to achieve membership. Those who were barred slipped down the ranks within the community. It is important to note that Dedham was not a theocracy. Although town politics were heavily influenced by Puritanism, once a church was established ministers of the church were not allowed to run as selectmen in order to retain the purity of their religion.
Moreover, it was incredibly difficult to be accepted into the community in the first place as they were close minded and prejudiced against those different to them. Considering the fact that English Puritans risked their lives to migrate to North America in search of religious freedom and acceptance, many of the social pillars Dedham stood on contradicted each other.
Finally, they viewed social order as the puritan key to harmony. From previous experiences in England they believ...
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... 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 made.
Overall, Lockridge has shown that while the myth of the ‘all-American’ colonies was not entirely accurate, the people of Dedham escaped the restrictions and compromises of an already established culture and gave themselves a world of opportunity making them uniquely American. Furthermore, over the first 100 years Dedham progressed towards a more democratic political and social structure. Freedom of thought and expression were more accepted and no one seemed to want to go back to the extreme control of the previous ‘aristocracy’. This might have inspired the American people to refuse the British monarchy and aristocracy during the revolution, shaping the distinct modern America that we know today.
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