Democracy or Oligarchy? The Practice of Politics in Early New England

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Given a free hand to form colony and town governments, what values did the people who arrived in New England in the 1630's bring to this process? How did these values shape the making of a legal system, rules about who could vote, and especially, who could participate in civic life?


David D. Hall has written widely on the religious, social, and political culture of 17th century New England. He is best known for Worlds of Wonder, Days of Judgment: Popular Religious Belief in Early New England (1989) and A Reforming People: Puritanism and the Transformation of Public Life in Early New England (2011). Most recently professor of American religious history at Harvard Divinity School, from which he retired in 2008, he taught previously at Boston University and Yale, where he earned his Ph.D. in 1964.