Local Government in Early America
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Local Government in Early America

The Colonial Experience and Lessons from the Founders
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Brian P. Janiskee
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In Local Government in Early America, Brian P. Janiskee examines the origins of the 'town hall meeting' and other iconic political institutions, whose origins lie in our colonial heritage. This work offers an overview of the structure of local politics in the colonial era, a detailed examination of the thoughts of key founders_such as John Adams and Thomas Jefferson_on local politics, and some thoughts on the continued role of local institutions as vital elements of the American political system.
Local Government in Early America is a concise and thought-provoking exploration of the American desire for political participation, most notably in the 'town hall meeting.' A product of early New England democracy, this form of direct local participation remains one of the most celebrated, yet feared, institutions in our political life. Depending upon one's political perspective on the issue at hand, a lively town hall meeting can be the glorious epitome of grassroots activism or the wretched embodiment of reactionary zeal. For all of the media attention devoted to the conservative revolt against health care reform at town hall meetings across the country, the political right is late to game on local activism. From resolutions opposed to the Patriot Act or the declaration of nuclear free zones in cities, the political left has used the rhetorical power of the local political pulpit to great effect for many years. All of this is possible because of the manner in which local governments were constructed during the colonial period. Author Brian Janiskee details the origins of our local system by examining key characteristics of local colonial political life, including what key founders like John Adams and Thomas Jefferson had to say about the role of our villages, towns, and cities in our complex system of government. Through this timely analysis of our political heritage, Janiskee may cause observers to reevaluate the phrase 'all politics is local.' Indeed it may be the case that 'all local politics is national.'
Chapter 1 Foreward
Chapter 2 Preface

Chapter 3 Intoduction

Chapter 4 Chapter 1: The Colonies of New England

Chapter 5 Chapter 2: The Middle and Southern Colonies

Chapter 6 Chapter 3: The Founders on Local Government

Chapter 7 Chapter 4: All Local Politics is National

Chapter 8 Appendix

Chapter 9 Bibliography

Chapter 10 About the Author

Chapter 11 About the Claremont Institute

Chapter 12 Index