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Author Biography

Daniel Mandell is an American historical at Truman State University teaching early America, Native American history, and the history of American law. His book The Lost Tradition of Economic Equality in America, 1600-1870 will be published by Johns Hopkins University Press in spring 2020.

Abstract

In the 1730s, Mahicans along the Housatonic River settled the mission town of Stockbridge, Massachusetts. They participated in town meetings and elected "traditional" leaders to typical New England offices. Even after a growing population of English settlers began dominating town offices, the Indians remained a strong presence in meetings, which was conducted in the Mahican as well as English language, and all voting done viva voce. In 1763, a major battle when an English faction tried to take control by introducing secret balloting; the Indians complained and mostly won their case. Stockbridge thus provides a case study comparing Indian and colonial New England decision-making, and highlighting the evolution of the town meeting during the 18th century.

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