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The Politics of Massachusetts Exceptionalism

The Politics of Massachusetts Exceptionalism

Reputation Meets Reality

Edited by Jerold Duquette and Erin O'Brien

Published by: University of Massachusetts Press

352 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 x 0.00 in, 17 illus., 1 map, 11 tables

  • Paperback
  • 9781625346674
  • Published: April 2022


  • Hardcover
  • 9781625346681
  • Published: April 2022



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Are claims of Massachusetts’s special and instructive place in American history and politics justified? Alternately described as a “city upon a hill” and “an organized system of hatreds,” Massachusetts politics has indisputably exerted an outsized pull on the national stage. The Commonwealth’s leaders often argue for the state’s distinct position within the union, citing its proud abolitionist history and its status as a policy leader on health care, gay marriage, and transgender rights, not to mention its fertile soil for budding national politicians. Detractors point to the state’s busing crisis, sky high levels of economic inequality, and mixed support for undocumented immigrants.

The Politics of Massachusetts Exceptionalism tackles these tensions, offering a collection of essays from public policy experts that address the state’s noteworthy contributions to the nation’s political history. This is a much-needed volume for Massachusetts policymakers, journalists, and community leaders, as well as those learning about political power at the state level, inside and outside of the classroom. Contributors include the editors as well as Maurice T. Cunningham, Lawrence Friedman, Shannon Jenkins, and Luis F. Jiménez, and Peter Ubertaccio.