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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, Luis F. Jiménez, and Peter Ubertaccio.
JEROLD DUQUETTE is associate professor of political science at Central Connecticut State University.
ERIN O’BRIEN is associate professor of political science at the University of Massachusetts Boston.
“Thorough, engaging, and full of insight into Massachusetts’s unique style of politics, The Politics of Massachusetts Exceptionalism is a must-read for anyone wanting to understand the state’s governmental process and its political actors.”—Jeffrey M. Berry, author of Lobbying for the People: The Political Behavior of Public Interest Groups
“The Politics ofMassachusetts Exceptionalism investigates an admirable range of historical and contemporary aspects of the state’s politics in a nuanced, complex way. Any future studies of Massachusetts politics will have to cite this work.”—Amy Fried, coauthor of At War with Government: How Conservatives Weaponized Distrust from Goldwater to Trump