All Politics is Local: New England

The first real governing structures in Colonial America were the New England towns of the 17th century, and the nation owes many of its present ideas of local self-governance to these organizations. From the hallowed town meeting to the election of citizens to individual offices and boards, town government—in one form or another—spread south and west to several mid-Atlantic states and most of the Midwest, and many of the Constitutional ideals of an engaged, knowledgeable, and self-determining citizenry stem from the foundations of these early organizations. Today, local politics in the New England states is characterized by a mixture of competing philosophies, from libertarianism to socialism. This program looks at the evolution of these different viewpoints, and how they give rise to varying social structures.

Learning Objectives

Understanding the unique structures of small-town and regional politics in different states in New England.
Demonstrating critical consciousness about the various interests, underlying philosophies, and conflicting surrounding libertarian, socialists, and progressive movements.
Understanding what public advocacy and civic responsibility looks like through in-person engagement.

Places and Activities

This program is flexible and can be offered in 5, or 7-day itineraries.

Through site visits to the Maine Center of Entrepreneurs and local legislators and activists, we learn about the vibrancy and innovative spirit of Southern Maine.

Traveling along the famed Route One to meet with local fishermen, continuing on to inland Maine for a nature hike and time learning about the history of conservation efforts in Maine.

Continuing onto Burlington, Vermont, learning how this state’s populace embodies both strong socialism and rugged individualism.

Discussing what was learned about governing institutions, local economies, and environmental conservation.

Let’s work together

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