Massachusetts (/ˌmæsəˈtʃuːsɪts/ (listen), /-zɪts/), officially the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, is the most populous state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. It borders on the Atlantic Ocean to the east, the states of Connecticut and Rhode Island to the south, New Hampshire and Vermont to the north, and New York to the west. The state is named after the Massachusett tribe, which once inhabited the east side of the area, and is one of the original thirteen states. The capital of Massachusetts is Boston, which is also the most populous city in New England. Over 80% of the population of Massachusetts lives in the Greater Boston metropolitan area, a region influential upon American history, academia, and industry.[41] Originally dependent on agriculture, fishing and trade,[42] Massachusetts was transformed into a manufacturing center during the Industrial Revolution.[43] During the 20th century, Massachusetts's economy shifted from manufacturing to services.[44] Modern Massachusetts is a global leader in biotechnology, engineering, higher education, finance, and maritime trade.[45]

Plymouth was the site of the second colony in New England after Popham Colony in 1607 in what is now Maine.[46] Plymouth was founded in 1620 by the Pilgrims, passengers of the Mayflower. In 1692, the town of Salem and surrounding areas experienced one of America's most infamous cases of mass hysteria, the Salem witch trials.[47] In 1777, General Henry Knox founded the Springfield Armory, which during the Industrial Revolution catalyzed numerous important technological advances, including interchangeable parts.[48] In 1786, Shays' Rebellion, a populist revolt led by disaffected American Revolutionary War veterans, influenced the United States Constitutional Convention.[49] In the 18th century, the Protestant First Great Awakening, which swept the Atlantic World, originated from the pulpit of Northampton preacher Jonathan Edwards.[50] In the late 18th century, Boston became known as the "Cradle of Liberty"[51] for the agitation there that led to the American Revolution.

The entire Commonwealth of Massachusetts has played a powerful commercial and cultural role in the history of the United States. Before the American Civil War, Massachusetts was a center for the abolitionist, temperance,[52] and transcendentalist[53] movements.[54] In the late 19th century, the sports of basketball and volleyball were invented in the western Massachusetts cities of Springfield and Holyoke, respectively.[55][56] In 2004, Massachusetts became the first U.S. state to legally recognize same-sex marriage as a result of the decision in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.[57] Many prominent American political dynasties have hailed from the state, including the Adams and Kennedy families. Harvard University in Cambridge is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States,[58] with the largest financial endowment of any university,[59] and Harvard Law School has educated a contemporaneous majority of Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States.[60] Kendall Square in Cambridge has been called "the most innovative square mile on the planet", in reference to the high concentration of entrepreneurial start-ups and quality of innovation which have emerged in the vicinity of the square since 2010.[61][62] Both Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, also in Cambridge, have been ranked among the most highly regarded academic institutions in the world.[63] Massachusetts' public-school students place among the top tier in the world in academic performance,[64] and the state has been ranked as one of the top states in the United States for citizens to live in, as well as one of the most expensive.[65]

Commonwealth of Massachusetts
The Bay State
The Pilgrim State; The Puritan State
The Old Colony State
The Baked Bean State[1]
Ense petit placidam sub libertate quietem (Latin)
By the sword we seek peace, but peace only under liberty
Anthem: All Hail to Massachusetts
Map of the United States with Massachusetts highlighted
Map of the United States with Massachusetts highlighted
CountryUnited States
Before statehoodProvince of Massachusetts Bay
Admitted to the UnionFebruary 6, 1788 (6th)
(and largest city)
Largest metroGreater Boston
 • GovernorCharlie Baker (R)
 • Lieutenant GovernorKaryn Polito (R)
LegislatureGeneral Court
 • Upper houseSenate
 • Lower houseHouse of Representatives
U.S. senatorsElizabeth Warren (D)
Ed Markey (D)
U.S. House delegation9 Democrats (list)
 • Total10,565[2] sq mi (27,337 km2)
 • Land7,840 sq mi (20,306 km2)
 • Water2,715 sq mi (7,032 km2)  26.1%
Area rank44th
 • Length300 mi (174 km)
 • Width183 mi (295 km)
500 ft (150 m)
Highest elevation3,489 ft (1,063.4 m)
Lowest elevation
(Atlantic Ocean)
0 ft (0 m)
 • Total6,902,149 (2,018)
 • Rank15th
 • Density840/sq mi (324/km2)
 • Density rank3rd
 • Median household income
 • Income rank
Demonym(s)Bay Stater (official)[6] Massachusite (traditional)[7][8]
 • Official languageAmerican[9]
 • Spoken language
Time zoneUTC-05:00 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-04:00 (EDT)
USPS abbreviation
ISO 3166 codeUS-MA
Trad. abbreviationMass.
Latitude41° 14′ N to 42° 53′ N
Longitude69° 56′ W to 73° 30′ W


The Massachusetts Bay Colony was named after the indigenous population, the Massachusett, likely derived from a Wôpanâak word muswach8sut, segmented as mus(ây) "big" + wach8 "mountain" + -s "diminutive" + -ut "locative" (the '8' in these words refers to the 'oo' sound according to the Wôpanâak orthographic chart).[66] It has been translated as "near the great hill",[67] "by the blue hills", "at the little big hill", or "at the range of hills", referring to the Blue Hills, or in particular the Great Blue Hill which is located on the boundary of Milton and Canton.[68][69] Alternatively, Massachusett has been represented as Moswetuset—from the name of the Moswetuset Hummock (meaning "hill shaped like an arrowhead") in Quincy, where Plymouth Colony commander Myles Standish, hired English military officer, and Squanto, part of the now disappeared Patuxet band of the Wampanoag peoples, met Chief Chickatawbut in 1621.[70][71]

The official name of the state is the "Commonwealth of Massachusetts".[72] While this designation is part of the state's official name, it has no practical implications.[73] Massachusetts has the same position and powers within the United States as other states.[74] It may have been chosen by John Adams for the second draft of the Massachusetts Constitution because unlike the word "state", "commonwealth" at the time had the connotation of a republic, in contrast to the monarchy the former American colonies were fighting against. (The "State of Massachusetts Bay" was in the first draft that had been rejected by the legislature.)[75]


Mayflower in Plymouth Harbor, by William Halsall
The Mayflower in Plymouth Harbor by William Halsall (1882). The Pilgrims were a group of Puritans who founded Plymouth in 1620.


Massachusetts was originally inhabited by tribes of the Algonquian language family such as the Wampanoag, Narragansett, Nipmuc, Pocomtuc, Mahican, and Massachusett.[76][77] While cultivation of crops like squash and corn supplemented their diets, these tribes were generally dependent on hunting, gathering and fishing for most of their food.[76] Villages consisted of lodges called wigwams as well as longhouses,[77] and tribes were led by male or female elders known as sachems.[78]

Colonial period

In the early 1600s, after contact had been made with Europeans, large numbers of the indigenous peoples in the northeast of what is now the United States were killed by virgin soil epidemics such as smallpox, measles, influenza, and perhaps leptospirosis.[79][80] Between 1617 and 1619, what was possibly smallpox killed approximately 90% of the Massachusetts Bay Native Americans.[81]

The first English settlers in Massachusetts, the Pilgrims, arrived via the Mayflower[82] at Plymouth in 1620, and developed friendly relations with the native Wampanoag people.[83] This was the second successful permanent English colony in the part of North America that later became the United States, after the Jamestown Colony. The event known as the "First Thanksgiving" was celebrated by the Pilgrims after their first harvest in the New World which lasted for three days. The Pilgrims were soon followed by other Puritans, who established the Massachusetts Bay Colony at present-day Boston in 1630.[84]

The Puritans, who believed the Church of England needed to be purified and experienced harassment from English authority because of their beliefs,[85] came to Massachusetts with the goal of establishing an ideal religious society.[86] Unlike the Plymouth colony, the bay colony was founded under a royal charter in 1629.[87] Both religious dissent and expansionism resulted in several new colonies being founded shortly after Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay elsewhere in New England. The Massachusetts Bay banished dissenters such as Anne Hutchinson and Roger Williams due to religious and political disagreements. In 1636, Williams founded the colony of Rhode Island and Hutchinson joined him there several years later. Religious intolerance continued. Among those who objected to this later in the century were the English Quaker preachers Alice and Thomas Curwen, who were publicly flogged and imprisoned in Boston in 1676.[88][89]

A Modest Enquiry Into the Nature of Witchcraft by John Hale (Boston, 1697)

In 1641, Massachusetts expanded inland significantly, acquiring the Connecticut River Valley settlement of Springfield, which had recently disputed with, and defected from its original administrators, the Connecticut Colony.[90] This established Massachusetts's southern border in the west,[91] though surveying problems resulted in disputed territory until 1803–04.[92]

In 1691, the colonies of Massachusetts Bay and Plymouth were united (along with present-day Maine, which had previously been divided between Massachusetts and New York) into the Province of Massachusetts Bay.[93] Shortly after the arrival of the new province's first governor, William Phips, the Salem witch trials took place, where a number of men and women were hanged for alleged witchcraft.[94]

The most destructive earthquake yet known in New England occurred in 1755, causing considerable damage across Massachusetts.[95][96]

The Revolutionary War

Percy's Rescue at Lexington Detail
"Percey's Rescue at Lexington," an illustration of the Battles of Lexington and Concord

Massachusetts was a center of the movement for independence from Great Britain; colonists in Massachusetts had long uneasy relations with the British monarchy, including open rebellion under the Dominion of New England in the 1680s.[93] Protests against British attempts to tax the colonies after the French and Indian War ended in 1763 led to the Boston Massacre in 1770, and the 1773 Boston Tea Party escalated tensions.[97] In 1774, the Intolerable Acts targeted Massachusetts with punishments for the Boston Tea Party and further decreased local autonomy, increasing local dissent.[98] Anti-Parliamentary activity by men such as Samuel Adams and John Hancock, followed by reprisals by the British government, were a primary reason for the unity of the Thirteen Colonies and the outbreak of the American Revolution in 1775.[99]

The Battles of Lexington and Concord initiated the American Revolutionary War and were fought in the eponymous Massachusetts towns.[100] Future President George Washington took over what would become the Continental Army after the battle. His first victory was the Siege of Boston in the winter of 1775–76, after which the British were forced to evacuate the city.[101] The event is still celebrated in Suffolk County as Evacuation Day.[102] On the coast, Salem became a center for privateering. Although the documentation is incomplete, about 1,700 letters of marque, issued on a per-voyage basis, were granted during the American Revolution. Nearly 800 vessels were commissioned as privateers and are credited with capturing or destroying about 600 British ships.[103]

Official Presidential portrait of John Adams (by John Trumbull, circa 1792)
John Adams, 2nd President of the United States (1797–1801) and one of the Founding Fathers
Paul Revere's ride - NARA - 535721
Paul Revere's "Midnight Ride"

Federal period

Bostonian John Adams, known as the "Atlas of Independence",[104] was an important figure in both the struggle for independence as well as the formation of the new United States. Adams was highly involved in the push for separation from Britain and the writing of the Constitution of Massachusetts in 1780 which, in the Elizabeth Freeman and Quock Walker cases, effectively made Massachusetts the first state to have a constitution that declared universal rights and, as interpreted by Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice William Cushing, abolished slavery. David McCullough points out that an equally important feature was its placing for the first time the courts as a co-equal branch separate from the executive.[105] (The Constitution of Vermont, adopted in 1777, represented the first partial ban on slavery. Vermont became a state in 1791 but did not fully ban slavery until 1858 with the Vermont Personal Liberty Law. The Pennsylvania Gradual Abolition Act of 1780[106] made Pennsylvania the first state to abolish slavery by statute.) Later, Adams was active in early American foreign affairs and succeeded Washington as the second United States President. His son John Quincy Adams, also from Massachusetts,[107] would go on to become the sixth United States President.

From 1786 to 1787, an armed uprising, known as Shays' Rebellion led by Revolutionary War veteran Daniel Shays wrought havoc throughout Massachusetts and ultimately attempted to seize the Federal armory.[49] The rebellion was one of the major factors in the decision to draft a stronger national constitution to replace the Articles of Confederation.[49] On February 6, 1788, Massachusetts became the sixth state to ratify the United States Constitution.[108]

19th century

In 1820, Maine separated from Massachusetts and entered the Union as the 23rd state as a result of the ratification of the Missouri Compromise.[109]

Mill Building (now museum), Lowell, Massachusetts
Textile mills such as the Boott Mills in Lowell made Massachusetts a leader in the Industrial Revolution in the United States.

During the 19th century, Massachusetts became a national leader in the American Industrial Revolution, with factories around cities such as Lowell and Boston producing textiles and shoes, and factories around Springfield producing tools, paper, and textiles.[110][111] The economy transformed from one based primarily on agriculture to an industrial one, initially making use of water-power and later the steam engine to power factories. Canals and railroads were used for transporting raw materials and finished goods.[112] At first, the new industries drew labor from Yankees on nearby subsistence farms, and later relied upon immigrant labor from Europe and Canada.[113][114]

Although Massachusetts was the first slave-holding colony dating back to the early 1600s, in the years leading up to the American Civil War, Massachusetts was a center of progressivist and abolitionist activity. Horace Mann made the state's school system a national model.[115] Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson made major contributions to American philosophy.[116] Members of the transcendentalist movement emphasized the importance of the natural world and emotion to humanity.[116]

Although significant opposition to abolitionism existed early on in Massachusetts, resulting in anti-abolitionist riots between 1835 and 1837,[117] opposition to slavery gradually increased throughout the next few decades.[118][119] Abolitionists John Brown and Sojourner Truth lived in Springfield and Northampton, respectively, while Frederick Douglass lived in Boston and Susan B. Anthony in Adams, Massachusetts. The works of such abolitionists contributed to Massachusetts's actions during the Civil War. Massachusetts was the first state to recruit, train, and arm a Black regiment with White officers, the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment.[120] In 1852, Massachusetts became the first state to pass compulsory education laws.[121]

20th century

Boston CAT Project-construction view from air.jpeg
Part of the "Big Dig" construction project; this portion is over the Charles River in Boston

With the exodus of several manufacturing companies, the area's industrial economy began to decline during the early 20th century. By the 1920s, competition from the South and Midwest, followed by the Great Depression, led to the collapse of the three main industries in Massachusetts: textiles, shoemaking, and precision mechanics.[122] This decline would continue into the later half of the century; between 1950 and 1979, the number of Massachusetts residents involved in textile manufacturing declined from 264,000 to 63,000.[123] The 1969 closure of the Springfield Armory, in particular, spurred an exodus of high-paying jobs from Western Massachusetts, which suffered greatly as it de-industrialized during the last 40 years of the 20th century.[124]

Massachusetts manufactured 3.4 percent of total United States military armaments produced during World War II, ranking tenth among the 48 states.[125] In Eastern Massachusetts, following World War II, the economy was transformed from one based on heavy industry into a service-based economy.[126] Government contracts, private investment, and research facilities led to a new and improved industrial climate, with reduced unemployment and increased per capita income. Suburbanization flourished, and by the 1970s, the Route 128 corridor was dotted with high-technology companies who recruited graduates of the area's many elite institutions of higher education.[127]

In 1987, the state received federal funding for the Central Artery/Tunnel Project. Commonly known as "the Big Dig", it was, at the time, the biggest federal highway project ever approved.[128] The project included making the Central Artery a tunnel under downtown Boston, in addition to the re-routing of several other major highways.[129] Often controversial, with numerous claims of graft and mismanagement, and with its initial price tag of $2.5 billion increasing to a final tally of over $15 billion, the Big Dig has nonetheless changed the face of Downtown Boston.[128] It has connected areas that were once divided by elevated highway (much of the raised old Central Artery was replaced with the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway), and improved traffic conditions along a number of routes.[128][129] Additionally, Massachusetts has had a diplomatic relationship with the Japanese prefecture of Hokkaido since 1988.[130]

Notable 20th century politicians

John F. Kennedy, White House color photo portrait
John F. Kennedy, Massachusetts native and 35th President of the United States (1961–1963)

The Kennedy family was prominent in Massachusetts politics in the 20th century. Children of businessman and ambassador Joseph P. Kennedy Sr. included John F. Kennedy, who was a senator and U.S. president before his assassination in 1963, Robert F. Kennedy, who was a senator, U.S. attorney general, and presidential candidate before his assassination in 1968, Ted Kennedy, a senator from 1962 until his death in 2009,[131] and Eunice Kennedy Shriver, a co-founder of the Special Olympics.[132] In 1966, Massachusetts became the first state to directly elect an African American to the U.S. senate with Edward Brooke.[133] George H. W. Bush, 41st President of the United States (1989–1993) was born in Milton in 1924.[134]

21st century

On May 17, 2004, Massachusetts became the first state in the U.S. to legalize same-sex marriage after a Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruling in November 2003 determined that the exclusion of same-sex couples from the right to a civil marriage was unconstitutional.[57] This decision was eventually superseded by the U.S. Supreme Court's affirmation of same-sex marriage in the United States in 2015.

In 2004, Massachusetts senator John Kerry who won the Democratic nomination for President of the United States narrowly lost to incumbent George W. Bush. Eight years later, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney (Republican nominee) lost to Barack Obama in 2012.

1st Boston Marathon blast seen from 2nd floor and a half block away
Boston Marathon bombing

Two pressure cooker bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013, at around 2:49 pm EDT. The explosions killed three civilians and injured an estimated 264 others. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) later identified the suspects as brothers Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and Tamerlan Tsarnaev. The ensuing manhunt ended on April 19 when thousands of law enforcement officers searched a 20-block area of nearby Watertown. Dzhokhar later said that he was motivated by extremist Islamic beliefs and learned to build explosive devices from Inspire, the online magazine of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

On November 8, 2016, Massachusetts voted in favor of The Massachusetts Marijuana Legalization Initiative, also known as Question 4.[135] It was included in the 2016 United States presidential election ballot in Massachusetts as an indirectly initiated state statute.[136]


Pioneer Valley South From Mt. Sugarloaf
A portion of the north-central Pioneer Valley in Sunderland. The campus of the University of Massachusetts Amherst is visible in the background.

Massachusetts is the 7th-smallest state in the United States. It is located in the New England region of the northeastern United States and has an area of 10,555 square miles (27,340 km2), 25.7% of which is water. Several large bays distinctly shape its coast. Boston is the largest city, at the inmost point of Massachusetts Bay, and the mouth of the Charles River.

Despite its small size, Massachusetts features numerous topographically distinctive regions. The large coastal plain of the Atlantic Ocean in the eastern section of the state contains Greater Boston, along with most of the state's population,[41] as well as the distinctive Cape Cod peninsula. To the west lies the hilly, rural region of Central Massachusetts, and beyond that, the Connecticut River Valley. Along the western border of Western Massachusetts lies the highest elevated part of the state, the Berkshires.

The U.S. National Park Service administers a number of natural and historical sites in Massachusetts.[137] Along with twelve national historic sites, areas, and corridors, the National Park Service also manages the Cape Cod National Seashore and the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area.[137] In addition, the Department of Conservation and Recreation maintains a number of parks, trails, and beaches throughout Massachusetts.[138]


Charadrius-melodus-004 edit
Many coastal areas in Massachusetts provide breeding areas for species such as the piping plover.

The primary biome of inland Massachusetts is temperate deciduous forest.[139] Although much of Massachusetts had been cleared for agriculture, leaving only traces of old-growth forest in isolated pockets, secondary growth has regenerated in many rural areas as farms have been abandoned.[140] Currently, forests cover around 62% of Massachusetts.[141] The areas most affected by human development include the Greater Boston area in the east and the Springfield metropolitan area in the west, although the latter includes agricultural areas throughout the Connecticut River Valley.[142] There are currently 219 endangered species in Massachusetts.[143]

A number of species are doing well in the increasingly urbanized Massachusetts. Peregrine falcons utilize office towers in larger cities as nesting areas,[144] and the population of coyotes, whose diet may include garbage and roadkill, has been increasing in recent decades.[145] White-tailed deer, raccoons, wild turkeys, and eastern gray squirrels are also found throughout Massachusetts. In more rural areas in the western part of Massachusetts, larger mammals such as moose and black bears have returned, largely due to reforestation following the regional decline in agriculture.[146]

Massachusetts is located along the Atlantic Flyway, a major route for migratory waterfowl along the eastern coast.[147] Lakes in central Massachusetts provide habitat for many species of fish and waterfowl, but some species such as the common loon are becoming rare.[148] A significant population of long-tailed ducks winter off Nantucket. Small offshore islands and beaches are home to roseate terns and are important breeding areas for the locally threatened piping plover.[149] Protected areas such as the Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge provide critical breeding habitat for shorebirds and a variety of marine wildlife including a large population of grey seals.

Freshwater fish species in Massachusetts include bass, carp, catfish, and trout, while saltwater species such as Atlantic cod, haddock, and American lobster populate offshore waters.[150] Other marine species include Harbor seals, the endangered North Atlantic right whales, as well as humpback whales, fin whales, minke whales, and Atlantic white-sided dolphins.

The European corn borer, a significant agricultural pest, was first found in North America near Boston, Massachusetts in 1917.[151]


Massachusetts Köppen
Köppen climate types in Massachusetts

Most of Massachusetts has a humid continental, with cold winters and warm summers. Far southeast coastal areas are the broad transition zone to Humid Subtropical climates. The warm to hot summers render the oceanic climate rare in this transition, only applying to exposed coastal areas such as on the peninsula of Barnstable County. The climate of Boston is quite representative for the commonwealth, characterized by summer highs of around 81 °F (27 °C) and winter highs of 35 °F (2 °C), and is quite wet. Frosts are frequent all winter, even in coastal areas due to prevailing inland winds. Due to its location near the Atlantic, Massachusetts is vulnerable to nor'easters, hurricanes and tropical storms.

Average daily maximum and minimum temperatures for selected cities in Massachusetts[152]
Location July (°F) July (°C) January (°F) January (°C)
Boston 81/65 27/18 36/22 2/–5
Worcester 79/61 26/16 31/17 0/–8
Springfield 84/62 27/17 34/17 1/–8
New Bedford 80/65 26/18 37/23 3/–4
Quincy 80/61 26/16 33/18 1/–7
Plymouth 80/61 27/16 38/20 3/–6


Massachusetts population map
Massachusetts population density map. The centers of high-density settlement, from east to west, are Boston, Worcester, Springfield, and Pittsfield, respectively.
Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 20186,902,1495.4%

The United States Census Bureau estimated that the population of Massachusetts was 6,902,149 on July 1, 2018, a 5.41% increase since the 2010 United States Census.[155]

As of 2014, Massachusetts was estimated to be the third-most densely populated U.S. state, with 839.4 people per square mile,[156] behind New Jersey and Rhode Island. In 2014, Massachusetts had 1,011,811 foreign-born residents or 15% of the population.[156]

Most Bay State residents live within the Boston Metropolitan Area, also known as Greater Boston, which includes Boston and its proximate surroundings but also extending to Greater Lowell and to Worcester. The Springfield metropolitan area, also known as Greater Springfield, is also a major center of population. Demographically, the center of population of Massachusetts is located in the town of Natick.[157][158]

Like the rest of the Northeastern United States, the population of Massachusetts has continued to grow in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Massachusetts is the fastest growing state in New England and the 25th fastest growing state in the United States.[159] Population growth was largely due to a relatively high quality of life and a large higher education system in the state.[159]

Foreign immigration is also a factor in the state's population growth, causing the state's population to continue to grow as of the 2010 Census (particularly in Massachusetts gateway cities where costs of living are lower).[160][161] 40% of foreign immigrants were from Central or South America, according to a 2005 Census Bureau study, with many of the remainder from Asia. Many residents who have settled in Greater Springfield claim Puerto Rican descent.[160] Many areas of Massachusetts showed relatively stable population trends between 2000 and 2010.[161] Exurban Boston and coastal areas grew the most rapidly, while Berkshire County in far Western Massachusetts and Barnstable County on Cape Cod were the only counties to lose population as of the 2010 Census.[161]

By sex, 48.4% were male and 51.6% were female in 2014. In terms of age, 79.2% were over 18 years old and 14.8% were over 65 years old.[156]

Race and ancestry

St. Patrick Day's Parade, Scituate MA
Saint Patrick's Day parade in Scituate, the municipality with the highest percentage identifying Irish ancestry in the United States, at 47.5% in 2010.[162] Irish Americans constitute the largest ethnicity in Massachusetts.

As of 2014, in terms of race and ethnicity, Massachusetts was 83.2% White (73.7% Non-Hispanic White), 8.8% Black or African American, 0.5% Native American and Alaska Native, 6.3% Asian American, <0.1% Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, 2.1% from some other race, and 3.1% from two or more races. Hispanics and Latinos of any race made up 11.2% of the population.[156]

The state's most populous ethnic group, non-Hispanic white, has declined from 95.4% in 1970 to 73.7% in 2014.[156][163] As of 2011, non-Hispanic whites were involved in 63.6% of all the births,[164] while 36.4% of the population of Massachusetts younger than age 1 was minorities (meaning that they had at least one parent who was not non-Hispanic white).[165]

As late as 1795, the population of Massachusetts was nearly 95% of English ancestry.[166] During the early and mid-19th century, immigrant groups began arriving in Massachusetts in large numbers; first from Ireland in the 1840s;[167] today the Irish and part-Irish are the largest ancestry group in the state at nearly 25% of the total population. Others arrived later from Quebec as well as places in Europe such as Italy, Portugal, and Poland.[168] In the early 20th century, a number of African Americans migrated to Massachusetts, although in somewhat fewer numbers than many other Northern states.[169] Later in the 20th century, immigration from Latin America increased considerably. Over 156,000 Chinese Americans made their home in Massachusetts in 2014,[170] and Boston hosts a growing Chinatown accommodating heavily traveled Chinese-owned bus lines to and from Chinatown, Manhattan in New York City. Massachusetts also has large Puerto Rican, Dominican, Haitian, Cape Verdean and Brazilian populations. Boston's South End and Jamaica Plain are both gay villages, as is nearby Provincetown, Massachusetts on Cape Cod.

Boston Chinatown Paifang
Boston's Chinatown, with its paifang gate, is home to many Chinese and also Vietnamese restaurants.
Were a gay and happy family wagon
Boston gay pride march, held annually in June. Massachusetts became the first U.S. state to legalize same-sex marriage in 2004.

The largest ancestry group in Massachusetts are the Irish (22.5% of the population), who live in significant numbers throughout the state but form more than 40% of the population along the South Shore in Norfolk and Plymouth counties (in both counties overall, Irish-Americans comprise more than 30% of the population). Italians form the second-largest ethnic group in the state (13.5%), but only form a plurality in some suburbs north of Boston and a few towns in the Berkshires. English is the third-largest ancestry in Massachusetts (11.4%), and have lived in the region the longest but only form a plurality in some towns in western Massachusetts. French and French Canadian people also form a significant part of the state's population (10.7%),[171] with sizable populations in Bristol, Hampden, Worcester Counties.[172][173] Lowell is home to the second-largest Cambodian community of the nation.[174] Massachusetts is home to a small community of Greek Americans as well, which according to the American Community Survey there are 83,701 of them scattered along the state (1.2% of the total state population).[175] There are also several populations of Native Americans in Massachusetts. The Wampanoag tribe maintains reservations at Aquinnah on Martha's Vineyard and at Mashpee on Cape Cod—with an ongoing native language revival project underway since 1993, while the Nipmuc maintain two state-recognized reservations in the central part of the state, including one at Grafton.[176]

Massachusetts has avoided many forms of racial strife seen elsewhere in the US, but examples such as the successful electoral showings of the nativist (mainly anti-Catholic) Know Nothings in the 1850s,[177] the controversial Sacco and Vanzetti executions in the 1920s,[178] and Boston's opposition to desegregation busing in the 1970s[179] show that the ethnic history of Massachusetts was not completely harmonious.


The most common varieties of American English spoken in Massachusetts, other than General American, are the cot-caught distinct, rhotic, western Massachusetts dialect and the cot-caught merged, non-rhotic, eastern Massachusetts dialect (popularly known as a "Boston accent").[180]

Top 11 Non-English Languages Spoken in Massachusetts
Language Percentage of population
(as of 2010)[181]
Spanish 7.50%
Portuguese 2.97%
Chinese (including Cantonese and Mandarin) 1.59%
French (including New England French) 1.11%
French Creole 0.89%
Italian 0.72%
Russian 0.62%
Vietnamese 0.58%
Greek 0.41%
Arabic and Khmer (Cambodian) (including all Austroasiatic languages) (tied) 0.37%

As of 2010, 78.93% (4,823,127) of Massachusetts residents age 5 and older spoke English at home as a first language, while 7.50% (458,256) spoke Spanish, 2.97% (181,437) Portuguese, 1.59% (96,690) Chinese (which includes Cantonese and Mandarin), 1.11% (67,788) French, 0.89% (54,456) French Creole, 0.72% (43,798) Italian, 0.62% (37,865) Russian, and Vietnamese was spoken as a primary language by 0.58% (35,283) of the population over the age of five. In total, 21.07% (1,287,419) of Massachusetts's population aged 5 and older spoke a first language other than English.[156][181]

Built in 1681, the Old Ship Church in Hingham is the oldest church in America in continuous ecclesiastical use.[182] Massachusetts has since become one of the most irreligious states in the U.S.[183]


Massachusetts was founded and settled by Brownist Puritans in 1620[85] and soon after by other groups of Separatists/Dissenters, Nonconformists and Independents from 17th century England.[83] A majority of people in Massachusetts today remain Christians.[156] The descendants of the Puritans belong to many different churches; in the direct line of inheritance are the various Congregational churches, the United Church of Christ and congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association. The headquarters of the Unitarian Universalist Association, long located on Beacon Hill, is now located in South Boston.[184][185] Many Puritan descendants also dispersed to other Protestant denominations. Some disaffiliated along with Roman Catholics and other Christian groups in the wake of modern secularization.

Today, Christians make up 57% of the state's population, with Protestants making up 21% of them. Roman Catholics make up 34% and now predominate because of massive immigration from primarily Catholic countries and regions – chiefly Ireland, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Quebec, and Latin America. Both Protestant and Roman Catholic communities have been in decline since the late 20th century, due to the rise of irreligion in New England. It is the most irreligious region of the country, along with the Western United States. A significant Jewish population immigrated to the Boston and Springfield areas between 1880 and 1920. Jews currently make up 3% of the population. Mary Baker Eddy made the Boston Mother Church of Christian Science serve as the world headquarters of this new religious movement. Buddhists, Pagans, Hindus, Seventh-day Adventists, Muslims, and Mormons may also be found. Kripalu Center in Stockbridge, the Shaolin Meditation Temple in Springfield, and the Insight Meditation Center in Barre are examples of non-Abrahamic religious centers in Massachusetts. According to 2010 data from The Association of Religion Data Archives, (ARDA) the largest single denominations are the Catholic Church with 2,940,199 adherents; the United Church of Christ with 86,639 adherents; and the Episcopal Church with 81,999 adherents.[186] 32% of the population identifies as having no religion.[187]


Harvard University and MIT are both widely regarded as in the top handful of universities worldwide for academic research in various disciplines.[63]

MIT Building 10 and the Great Dome, Cambridge MA
MA Public High School District SAT by town
Towns in Massachusetts by combined mean SAT of their public high school district for the 2015–2016 academic year[188]

In 2018, Massachusetts's overall educational system was ranked the top among all fifty U.S. states by U.S. News & World Report.[189] Massachusetts was the first state in North America to require municipalities to appoint a teacher or establish a grammar school with the passage of the Massachusetts Education Law of 1647,[190] and 19th century reforms pushed by Horace Mann laid much of the groundwork for contemporary universal public education[191][192] which was established in 1852.[121] Massachusetts is home to the oldest school in continuous existence in North America (The Roxbury Latin School, founded in 1645), as well as the country's oldest public elementary school (The Mather School, founded in 1639),[193] its oldest high school (Boston Latin School, founded in 1635),[194] its oldest continuously operating boarding school (The Governor's Academy, founded in 1763),[195] its oldest college (Harvard University, founded in 1636),[196] and its oldest women's college (Mount Holyoke College, founded in 1837).[197]

Massachusetts's per-student public expenditure for elementary and secondary schools was eighth in the nation in 2012, at $14,844.[198] In 2013, Massachusetts scored highest of all the states in math and third-highest in reading on the National Assessment of Educational Progress.[199]

Massachusetts is home to 121 institutions of higher education.[200] Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, both located in Cambridge, consistently rank among the world's best private universities and universities in general.[201] In addition to Harvard and MIT, several other Massachusetts universities currently rank in the top 50 at the undergraduate level nationally in the widely cited rankings of U.S. News and World Report: Tufts University (#27), Boston College (#32), Brandeis University (#34), Boston University (#37) and Northeastern University (#40). Massachusetts is also home to three of the top five U.S. News and World Report's best Liberal Arts Colleges: Williams College (#1), Amherst College (#2), and Wellesley College (#4).[202] The public University of Massachusetts (nicknamed UMass) features five campuses in the state, with its flagship campus in Amherst that enrolls over 25,000 students.[203][204]


The United States Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates that the Massachusetts gross state product in 2017 was US$527 billion.[205] The per capita personal income in 2012 was $53,221, making it the third-highest state in the nation.[206] As of January 2019, Massachusetts general minimum wage in the state is $12 per hour while the minimum wage for tipped workers is $4.35 an hour.[207]

In 2015, twelve Fortune 500 companies were located in Massachusetts: Liberty Mutual, Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company, TJX Companies, General Electric, Raytheon, American Tower, Global Partners, Thermo Fisher Scientific, State Street Corporation, Biogen, Eversource Energy, and Boston Scientific.[208] CNBC's list of "Top States for Business for 2014" has recognized Massachusetts as the 25th-best state in the nation for business,[209] and for the second year in a row the state was ranked by Bloomberg as the most innovative state in America.[210] According to a 2013 study by Phoenix Marketing International, Massachusetts had the sixth-largest number of millionaires per capita in the United States, with a ratio of 6.73 percent.[211] Billionaires living in the state include past and present leaders (and related family) of local companies such as Fidelity Investments, New Balance, Kraft Group, Boston Scientific, and the former Continental Cablevision.[212]

Massachusetts has three foreign-trade zones, the Massachusetts Port Authority of Boston, the Port of New Bedford, and the City of Holyoke.[213] Boston-Logan International Airport is the busiest airport in New England, serving 33.4 million total passengers in 2015, and witnessing rapid growth in international air traffic since 2010.[214]

Sectors vital to the Massachusetts economy include higher education, biotechnology, information technology, finance, health care, tourism, manufacturing, and defense. The Route 128 corridor and Greater Boston continue to be a major center for venture capital investment,[215] and high technology remains an important sector. In recent years tourism has played an ever-important role in the state's economy, with Boston and Cape Cod being the leading destinations.[216] Other popular tourist destinations include Salem, Plymouth, and the Berkshires. Massachusetts is the sixth-most popular tourist destination for foreign travelers.[217] In 2010, the Great Places in Massachusetts Commission published '1,000 Great Places in Massachusetts' that identified 1,000 sites across the commonwealth to highlight the diverse historic, cultural, and natural attractions.[218]

Sunset on Cape Cod Bay
Cape Cod Bay, a leading tourist destination in Massachusetts. Tourism is important to the state's economy.

While manufacturing comprised less than 10% of Massachusetts's gross state product in 2016, the Commonwealth ranked 16th in the nation in total manufacturing output in the United States.[219] This includes a diverse array of manufactured goods such as medical devices, paper goods, specialty chemicals and plastics, telecommunications and electronics equipment, and machined components.[220][221]

As of 2012, there were 7,755 farms in Massachusetts encompassing a total of 523,517 acres (2,120 km2), averaging 67.5 acres (0.273 km2) apiece.[222] Particular agricultural products of note include green house products making up more than one third of the state's agricultural output, cranberries, sweet corn and apples are also large sectors of production.[223] Massachusetts is the second-largest cranberry-producing state in the union after Wisconsin.[224]

The more than 33,000 nonprofits in Massachusetts employ one-sixth of the state's workforce.[225] In 2007, Governor Deval Patrick signed into law a state holiday, Nonprofit Awareness Day.

In February 2017, U.S. News & World Report ranked Massachusetts the best state in the United States based upon 60 metrics including healthcare, education, crime, infrastructure, opportunity, economy, and government. The Bay State ranked number one in education, number two in healthcare, and number five in the handling of the economy.[65]


Depending on how it is calculated, state and local tax burden in Massachusetts has been estimated among U.S. states and Washington D.C. as 21st-highest (11.44% or $6,163 per year for a household with nationwide median income)[226] or 25th-highest overall with below-average corporate taxes (39th-highest), above-average personal income taxes, (13th-highest), above-average sales tax (18th-highest), and below-average property taxes (46th-highest).[227] In the 1970s, the Commonwealth ranked as a relatively high-tax state, gaining the pejorative nickname "Taxachusetts". This was followed by a round of tax limitations during the 1980s—a conservative period in American politics—including Proposition 2½.[228]

As of January 1, 2016, Massachusetts has a flat-rate personal income tax of 5.1%,[229] after a 2002 voter referendum to eventually lower the rate to 5.0%[230] as amended by the legislature.[231] There is a tax exemption for income below a threshold that varies from year to year. The corporate income tax rate is 8.8%,[232] and the short-term capital gains tax rate is 12%.[233] An unusual provision allows filers to voluntarily pay at the pre-referendum 5.85% income tax rate, which is done by between one and two thousand taxpayers per year.[234]

The state imposes a 6.25% sales tax[232] on retail sales of tangible personal property—except for groceries, clothing (up to $175.00), and periodicals.[235] The sales tax is charged on clothing that costs more than $175.00, for the amount exceeding $175.00.[235] Massachusetts also charges a use tax when goods are bought from other states and the vendor does not remit Massachusetts sales tax; taxpayers report and pay this on their income tax forms or dedicated forms, though there are "safe harbor" amounts that can be paid without tallying up actual purchases (except for purchases over $1,000).[235] There is no inheritance tax and limited Massachusetts estate tax related to federal estate tax collection.[233]


Massachusetts's electricity generation market was made competitive in 1998, enabling retail customers to change suppliers without changing utility companies.[236] In 2017, Massachusetts consumed 1,424 trillion BTU,[237] making it the seventh-lowest state in terms of consumption of energy per capita, and 32.5 percent of that energy came from natural gas.[237] In 2014 and 2015, Massachusetts was ranked as the most energy efficient state the United States[238][239] while Boston is the most efficient city,[240] but it had the fourth-highest retail electricity prices of any state.[237] In 2017, renewable energy was about 6.8 percent of total energy consumed in the state, ranking 35th.[237]


Massachusetts has 10 regional metropolitan planning organizations and three non-metropolitan planning organizations covering the remainder of the state;[241] statewide planning is handled by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation. Transportation is the single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions by economic sector in Massachusetts.[242]

Regional public transportation

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), also known as "The T",[243] operates public transportation in the form of subway,[244] bus,[245] and ferry[246] systems in the Metro Boston area.

Fifteen other regional transit authorities provide public transportation in the form of bus services in the rest of the state.[247] Two heritage railways are also in operation: the Cape Cod Central Railroad and the Berkshire Scenic Railway.[248][249]

Long-distance rail and bus

Amtrak operates inter-city rail, including the high-speed Acela service to cities such as Providence, New Haven, New York City, and Washington, DC from South Station. From North Station the Amtrak Downeaster serves Portland, Maine and Brunswick, Maine.[250] Amtrak also runs east-west from Boston South Station to Worcester, Springfield, and eventually Chicago, Illinois; and north-south from the Pioneer Valley to New Haven, Connecticut via Hartford. Amtrak carries more passengers between Boston and New York than all airlines combined (about 54% of market share in 2012).[251] but has infrequent trips to other cities. There, more frequent intercity service is provided by private bus carriers, including Peter Pan Bus Lines (headquartered in Springfield), Greyhound Lines, OurBus and BoltBus. Various Chinatown bus lines depart for New York from South Station in Boston.

MBTA Commuter Rail services run throughout the larger Greater Boston area, including service to Worcester, Fitchburg, Haverhill, Newburyport, Lowell, and Plymouth.[252] This overlaps with the service areas of neighboring regional transportation authorities. As of the summer of 2013 the Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority in collaboration with the MBTA and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) is operating the CapeFLYER providing passenger rail service between Boston and Cape Cod.[253][254]

Hartford-Springfield Commuter Rail began operation in 2018.


The Woods Hole, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket Steamship Authority regulates freight and passenger ferry service to the islands of Massachusetts including Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket.[255]

Rail freight

As of 2015, a number of freight railroads were operating in Massachusetts, with CSX being the largest carrier.[256] Massachusetts has a total of 1,057 miles (1,701 km) of freight trackage in operation.[257]

Air service

Downtown Worcester, Massachusetts
Worcester, second-largest city in the state, with Worcester Regional Airport tower in the background

The major airport in the state is Boston-Logan International Airport. The airport served 33.5 million passengers in 2015, up from 31.6 million in 2014,[214] and is used by around 40 airlines with a total of 103 gates.[258] Logan International Airport has service to numerous cities throughout the United States, as well as international service to Canada, Mexico, Brazil, the Caribbean, Europe, and Asia.[259] Logan, Hanscom Field in Bedford, and Worcester Regional Airport are operated by Massport, an independent state transportation agency.[259] Massachusetts has 39 public-use airfields,[260] and over 200 private landing spots.[261] Some airports receive funding from the Aeronautics Division of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration; the FAA is also the primary regulator of Massachusetts air travel.[262]


Prominent roads and cities in Massachusetts

There are a total of 36,800 miles (59,200 km) of interstates and other highways in Massachusetts.[263] Interstate 90 (I-90, also known as the Massachusetts Turnpike), is the longest interstate in Massachusetts. The route travels 136 mi (219 km) generally west to east, entering Massachusetts at the New York state line in the town of West Stockbridge, and passes just north of Springfield, just south of Worcester and through Framingham before terminating near Logan International Airport in Boston.[264] Other major interstates include I-91, which travels generally north and south along the Connecticut River; I-93, which travels north and south through central Boston, then passes through Methuen before entering New Hampshire; and I-95, which connects Providence, Rhode Island with Greater Boston, forming a partial loop concurrent with Route 128 around the more urbanized areas before continuing north along the coast into New Hampshire.

I-495 forms a wide loop around the outer edge of Greater Boston. Other major interstates in Massachusetts include I-291, I-391, I-84, I-195, I-395, I-290, and I-190. Major non-interstate highways in Massachusetts include U.S. Routes 1, 3, 6, and 20, and state routes 2, 3, 9, 24, and 128. A great majority of interstates in Massachusetts were constructed during the mid-20th century, and at times were controversial, particularly the intent to route I-95 northeastwards from Providence, Rhode Island, directly through central Boston, first proposed in 1948. Opposition to continued construction grew, and in 1970 Governor Francis W. Sargent issued a general prohibition on most further freeway construction within the I-95/Route 128 loop in the Boston area.[265] A massive undertaking to bring I-93 underground in downtown Boston, called the Big Dig, brought the city's highway system under public scrutiny for its high cost and construction quality.[128]

Government and politics

Mass statehouse eb1
The Massachusetts State House, topped by its golden dome, faces Boston Common on Beacon Hill.

Massachusetts has a long political history; earlier political structures included the Mayflower Compact of 1620, the separate Massachusetts Bay and Plymouth colonies, and the combined colonial Province of Massachusetts. The Massachusetts Constitution was ratified in 1780 while the Revolutionary War was in progress, four years after the Articles of Confederation was drafted, and eight years before the present United States Constitution was ratified on June 21, 1788. Drafted by John Adams, the Massachusetts Constitution is currently the oldest functioning written constitution in continuous effect in the world.[266][267][268] It has been amended 120 times, most recently in 2000.

Massachusetts politics since the second half of the 20th century have generally been dominated by the Democratic Party, and the state has a reputation for being the most liberal state in the country.[269] In 1974, Elaine Noble became the first openly lesbian or gay candidate elected to a state legislature in US history.[270] The state housed the first openly gay member of the United States House of Representatives, Gerry Studds, in 1972[271] and in 2004, Massachusetts became the first state to allow same-sex marriage.[57] Massachusetts has a pro-sanctuary city law.[272]


Charlie Baker official photo
Charlie Baker (R), the 72nd and current Governor of Massachusetts

The Government of Massachusetts is divided into three branches: Executive, Legislative, and Judicial. The governor of Massachusetts heads the executive branch; duties of the governor include signing or vetoing legislation, filling judicial and agency appointments, granting pardons, preparing an annual budget, and commanding the Massachusetts National Guard.[273] Massachusetts governors, unlike those of most other states, are addressed as His/Her Excellency.[273] The current governor is Charlie Baker,[274] a Republican from Swampscott.[275] The executive branch also includes the Executive Council, which is made up of eight elected councilors and the Lieutenant Governor seat,[273] which is currently occupied by Karyn Polito (RShrewsbury).[274]

Abilities of the Council include confirming gubernatorial appointments and certifying elections.[273] The Massachusetts House of Representatives and Massachusetts Senate comprise the legislature of Massachusetts, known as the Massachusetts General Court.[273] The House consists of 160 members while the Senate has 40 members.[273] Leaders of the House and Senate are chosen by the members of those bodies; the leader of the House is known as the Speaker while the leader of the Senate is known as the President.[273] Each branch consists of several committees.[273] Members of both bodies are elected to two-year terms.[276]

The Judicial branch is headed by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, which serves over a number of lower courts.[273] The Supreme Judicial Court is made up of a chief justice and six associate justices.[273] Judicial appointments are made by the governor and confirmed by the executive council.[273]

The Congressional delegation from Massachusetts is entirely Democratic.[277] Currently, the Senators are Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey while the Representatives are Richard Neal (1st), Jim McGovern (2nd), Lori Trahan (3rd), Joseph Kennedy III (4th), Katherine Clark (5th), Seth Moulton (6th), Ayanna Pressley (7th), Stephen Lynch (8th), and Bill Keating (9th).[278]

Federal court cases are heard in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, and appeals are heard by the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.[279] In U.S. presidential elections since 2012, Massachusetts has been allotted 11 votes in the electoral college, out of a total of 538.[280] Like most states, Massachusetts's electoral votes are granted in a winner-take-all system.[281]


Joe Kennedy III, Elizabeth Warren, Barney Frank
Rep. Joe Kennedy III, Senator Elizabeth Warren, and former Rep. Barney Frank campaign during the Boston Pride Parade

Throughout the mid-20th century, Massachusetts gradually shifted from a Republican-leaning state to one largely dominated by Democrats; the 1952 victory of John F. Kennedy over incumbent Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. is seen as a watershed moment in this transformation. His younger brother Edward M. Kennedy held that seat until his death from a brain tumor in 2009.[282] Since the time of John Kennedy, Massachusetts has gained a reputation as being a politically liberal state and is often used as an archetype of modern liberalism, hence the usage of the phrase "Massachusetts liberal."[283]

Massachusetts routinely votes for the Democratic Party, with the core concentrations in the Boston metro area, the Cape and Islands, and Western Massachusetts outside Hampden County. Pockets of Republican strength are in the central areas along the I-495 crescent, Hampden County, and communities on the south and north shores,[284] but the state as a whole has not given its Electoral College votes to a Republican in a presidential election since Ronald Reagan carried it in 1984. Additionally, Massachusetts provided Reagan with his smallest margins of victory in both the 1980[285] and 1984 elections.[286] When averaging the presidential election results from 2000 to 2016 in Massachusetts, Democratic nominees collected 60.8% of the vote compared to 35.1% for Republican nominees.[287] In the 2004 election, the state gave Massachusetts senator and Presidential candidate John Kerry 61.9% of the vote, his best showing in any state.[288]

Democrats have an absolute grip on the Massachusetts congressional delegation; there are no Republicans elected to serve at the federal level. Both Senators and all nine Representatives are Democrats; only one Republican (former Senator Scott Brown) has been elected to either house of Congress from Massachusetts since 1994. Massachusetts is the most populous state to be represented in the United States Congress entirely by a single party.

Massachusetts Registered Voter Enrollment: October 2018.[289]
Party Voters Percentage
Democratic 1,458,305 32.9%
Republican 456,527 10.3%
Libertarian 16,893 0.4%
Green 3,744 0.1%
Other 39,637 0.9%
Unaffiliated (officially Unenrolled) 2,459,828 55.5%
Total 4,434,934 100%

As of the 2018 elections, the Democratic Party holds a super-majority over the Republican Party in both chambers of the Massachusetts General Court (state legislature). Out of the state house's 160 seats, Democrats hold 127 seats (79%) compared to the Republican Party's 32 seats (20%), an independent sits in the remaining one,[290] and 34 out of the 40 seats in the state senate (85%) belong to the Democratic Party compared to the Republican Party's six seats (15%).[291] Both houses of the legislature have had Democratic majorities since the 1950s.

Despite the state's Democratic-leaning tendency, Massachusetts is more open to electing Republicans as Governor: only one Democrat (Deval Patrick) has served as governor since 1991, and among gubernatorial election results from 2002 to 2018, Republican nominees garnered 48.4% of the vote compared to 45.7% for Democratic nominees.[287] These have been considered to be among the most moderate Republican leaders in the nation.[292][293]

A number of contemporary national political issues have been influenced by events in Massachusetts, such as the decision in 2003 by the state Supreme Judicial Court allowing same-sex marriage[294] and a 2006 bill which mandated health insurance for all Bay Staters.[295] In 2008, Massachusetts voters passed an initiative decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana.[296] Voters in Massachusetts also approved a ballot measure in 2012 that legalized the medical use of marijuana.[297] Following the approval of a ballot question endorsing legalization in 2016, Massachusetts began issuing licenses for the regulated sale of recreational marijuana in June 2018. The licensed sale of recreational marijuana became legal on July 1, 2018; however, the lack of state-approved testing facilities prevented the sale of any product for several weeks.[298]

Cities, towns, and counties

There are 50 cities and 301 towns in Massachusetts, grouped into 14 counties.[299] The fourteen counties, moving roughly from west to east, are Berkshire, Franklin, Hampshire, Hampden, Worcester, Middlesex, Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk, Bristol, Plymouth, Barnstable, Dukes, and Nantucket. Eleven communities which call themselves "towns" are, by law, cities since they have traded the town meeting form of government for a mayor-council or manager-council form.[300]

Boston is the state capital and largest city in Massachusetts. The population of the city proper is 673,184,[301] and Greater Boston, with a population of 4,628,910, is the 10th largest metropolitan area in the nation.[302] Other cities with a population over 100,000 include Worcester, Springfield, Lowell, and Cambridge. Plymouth is the largest municipality in the state by land area, followed by Middleborough.[299]

Massachusetts, along with the five other New England states, features the local governmental structure known as the New England town.[303] In this structure, incorporated towns—as opposed to townships or counties—hold many of the responsibilities and powers of local government.[303] Most of the county governments were abolished by the state of Massachusetts beginning in 1997 including Middlesex County,[304] the largest county in the state by population.[305][306] The voters of these now defunct counties elect only Sheriffs and Registers of Deeds, who are part of the state government. Other counties have been reorganized, and a few still retain county councils.[307]

Arts, culture, and recreation

Site of Thoreau's cabin
The site of Henry David Thoreau's cabin at Walden Pond in Concord
NE Flag red
Massachusetts has the largest population of the New England states. New Englander culture and identity remains strong in Massachusetts (Flag of New England pictured above).[309]

Massachusetts has contributed to American arts and culture. Drawing from its Native American and Yankee roots, along with later immigrant groups, Massachusetts has produced a number of writers, artists, and musicians. A number of major museums and important historical sites are also located there, and events and festivals throughout the year celebrate the state's history and heritage.[310]

Massachusetts was an early center of the Transcendentalist movement, which emphasized intuition, emotion, human individuality and a deeper connection with nature.[116] Ralph Waldo Emerson, who was born in Boston but spent much of his later life in Concord, largely created the philosophy with his 1836 work Nature, and continued to be a key figure in the movement for the remainder of his life. Emerson's friend, Henry David Thoreau, who was also involved in Transcendentalism, recorded his year spent alone in a small cabin at nearby Walden Pond in the 1854 work Walden; or, Life in the Woods.[311]

Other famous authors and poets born or strongly associated with Massachusetts include Nathaniel Hawthorne, John Updike, Emily Dickinson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, E.E. Cummings, Sylvia Plath, H.P. Lovecraft, Edgar Allan Poe, and Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as "Dr. Seuss".[312][313][314] Famous painters from Massachusetts include Winslow Homer and Norman Rockwell;[314] many of the latter's works are on display at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge.[315]

An outdoor dance performance at Jacob's Pillow in Becket

Massachusetts is also an important center for the performing arts. Both the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Boston Pops Orchestra are based in Massachusetts.[316] Other orchestras in Massachusetts include the Cape Cod Symphony Orchestra in Barnstable, the New Bedford Symphony Orchestra,[317] and the Springfield Symphony Orchestra.[318][319] Tanglewood, in western Massachusetts, is a music venue that is home to both the Tanglewood Music Festival and Tanglewood Jazz Festival, as well as the summer host for the Boston Symphony Orchestra.[320]

Other performing arts and theater organizations in Massachusetts include the Boston Ballet, the Boston Lyric Opera,[316] and the Lenox-based Shakespeare & Company. In addition to classical and folk music, Massachusetts has produced musicians and bands spanning a number of contemporary genres, such as the classic rock band Aerosmith, the proto-punk band The Modern Lovers, the new wave band The Cars, and the alternative rock band Pixies.[321] Film events in the state include the Boston Film Festival, the Boston International Film Festival, and a number of smaller film festivals in various cities throughout Massachusetts.[322]

USS Constitution salutes Bataan 2005
USS Constitution fires a salute during its annual Fourth of July turnaround cruise

Massachusetts is home to a large number of museums and historical sites. The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, and the DeCordova contemporary art and sculpture museum in Lincoln are all located within Massachusetts,[323] and the Maria Mitchell Association in Nantucket includes several observatories, museums, and an aquarium.[324] Historically themed museums and sites such as the Springfield Armory National Historic Site in Springfield,[137] Boston's Freedom Trail and nearby Minute Man National Historical Park, both of which preserve a number of sites important during the American Revolution,[137][325] the Lowell National Historical Park, which focuses on some of the earliest mills and canals of the industrial revolution in the US,[137] the Black Heritage Trail in Boston, which includes important African-American and abolitionist sites in Boston,[326] and the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park[137] all showcase various periods of Massachusetts's history.

Plimoth Plantation and Old Sturbridge Village are two open-air or "living" museums in Massachusetts, recreating life as it was in the 17th and early 19th centuries, respectively.[327][328]

Boston's annual St. Patrick's Day parade and "Harborfest", a week-long Fourth of July celebration featuring a fireworks display and concert by the Boston Pops as well as a turnaround cruise in Boston Harbor by the USS Constitution, are popular events.[329] The New England Summer Nationals, an auto show in Worcester, draws tens of thousands of attendees every year.[330] The Boston Marathon is also a popular event in the state drawing more than 30,000 runners and tens of thousands of spectators annually.[331]

Long-distance hiking trails in Massachusetts include the Appalachian Trail, the New England National Scenic Trail, the Metacomet-Monadnock Trail, the Midstate Trail, and the Bay Circuit Trail.[332] Other outdoor recreational activities in Massachusetts include sailing and yachting, freshwater and deep-sea fishing,[333] whale watching,[334] downhill and cross-country skiing,[335] and hunting.[336]

Massachusetts is one of the states with the largest percentage of Catholics. It has many sanctuaries such as the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy (Stockbridge, Massachusetts).[337]


There are two major television media markets located in Massachusetts. The Boston/Manchester market is the fifth-largest in the United States.[338] The other market surrounds the Springfield area.[339] WGBH-TV in Boston is a major public television station and produces national programs such as Nova, Frontline, and American Experience.[340][341]

The Boston Globe, Boston Herald, Springfield Republican, and the Worcester Telegram & Gazette are Massachusetts's largest daily newspapers.[342] In addition, there are many community dailies and weeklies. There are a number of major AM and FM stations which serve Massachusetts,[343] along with many more regional and community-based stations. Some colleges and universities also operate campus television and radio stations, and print their own newspapers.[344][345][346]


Healthcare Costs in Massachusetts - Averaged by Medicare Reimbursements per Enrollee
Map showing the average medicare reimbursement per enrollee for the counties in the state of Massachusetts. Data from the 2016 report published by the University of Wisconsin County Health Rankings & Roadmaps.

Massachusetts generally ranks highly among states in most health and disease prevention categories. In 2015, the United Health Foundation ranked the state as third-healthiest overall.[347] Massachusetts has the most doctors per 100,000 residents,[348] the second-lowest infant mortality rate,[349] and the lowest percentage of uninsured residents (for both children as well as the total population).[350] According to Businessweek, commonwealth residents have an average life expectancy of 80.41 years, the fifth-longest in the country.[351] 37.2% of the population is overweight and 21.7% is obese,[352] and Massachusetts ranks sixth-highest in the percentage of residents who are considered neither obese nor overweight (41.1%).[352] Massachusetts also ranks above average in the prevalence of binge drinking, which is the 20th-highest in the country.[353]

The nation's first Marine Hospital was erected by federal order in Boston in 1799.[354][355] There are currently a total of 143 hospitals in the state.[356] According to 2015 rankings by U.S. News & World Report, Massachusetts General Hospital is ranked in the top three in two health care specialties.[357] Massachusetts General was founded in 1811 and serves as the largest teaching hospital for nearby Harvard University.[358]

The state of Massachusetts is a center for medical education and research including Harvard's Brigham and Women's Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute[359] as well as the New England Baptist Hospital, Tufts Medical Center, and Boston Medical Center which is the primary teaching hospital for Boston University.[360] The University of Massachusetts Medical School is located in Worcester.[361] The Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences has two of its three campuses in Boston and Worcester.[362]


131023-F-PR861-033 Hanscom participates in World Series pregame events
Fenway Park
Gillette Stadium Foxboro
Gillette Stadium

Massachusetts is home to four major league professional sports teams: seventeen-time NBA Champions Boston Celtics,[363] nine-time World Series winners Boston Red Sox,[364] six-time Stanley Cup winners Boston Bruins,[365] and six-time Super Bowl winners New England Patriots.[366] The New England Revolution is the Major League Soccer team for Massachusetts and the Boston Cannons are the Major League Lacrosse team.[367] The Boston Breakers were the Women's Professional Soccer in Massachusetts. Massachusetts is also the home of the Cape Cod Baseball League.

In the late 19th century, the Olympic sports of basketball[55] and volleyball[56] were invented in the Western Massachusetts cities of Springfield[55] and Holyoke,[56] respectively. The Basketball Hall of Fame, is a major tourist destination in the City of Springfield and the Volleyball Hall of Fame is located in Holyoke.[56] The American Hockey League (AHL), the NHL's development league, is headquartered in Springfield.[368]

Several universities in Massachusetts are notable for their collegiate athletics. The state is home to two Division I FBS teams, Boston College of the Atlantic Coast Conference, and FBS Independent University of Massachusetts at Amherst. FCS play includes Harvard University, which competes in the famed Ivy League, and College of the Holy Cross of the Patriot League. Boston University, Northeastern University, UMASS Lowell, and Merrimack College also participate in Division I athletics.[369][370] Many other Massachusetts colleges compete in lower divisions such as Division III, where MIT, Tufts University, Amherst College, Williams College, and others field competitive teams.

Massachusetts is also the home of rowing events such as the Eastern Sprints on Lake Quinsigamond and the Head of the Charles Regatta.[371] A number of major golf events have taken place in Massachusetts, including nine U.S. Opens and two Ryder Cups.[372][373]

Massachusetts has produced several successful Olympians including Butch Johnson, Todd Richards, Albina Osipowich, Aly Raisman, and Susan Rojcewicz.[374]

See also


  1. ^ Herman, Jennifer (2008). Massachusetts Encyclopedia. State History Publications, LLC. p. 7. Various nicknames have been given to describe Massachusetts, including the Bay State, the Old Bay State, the Pilgrim State, the Puritan State, the Old Colony State and, less often, the Baked Bean State
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  • Brebner, John Bartlet (1927). New England's Outpost: Acadia Before the Conquest of Canada. New York, NY: Columbia University Press. ISBN 978-0-7812-6367-2.
  • Brettell, Caroline (2003). Anthropology and Migration:Essays on Transnational Ethnicity and Identity. Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press. ISBN 978-0-7591-0320-7.
  • Brown, Richard D; Tager, Jack (2000). Massachusetts: A Concise History. Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press. ISBN 978-1-55849-248-6.
  • Dejnozka, Edward L; Gifford, Charles S; Kapel, David E; Kapel, Marilyn B (1982). American Educators' Encyclopedia. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. ISBN 978-0-313-20954-3.
  • Goldfield, David; Abbott, Carl; Anderson, Virginia DeJohn; Argersinger, Jo Ann E; Argersinger, Peter H; Barney, William L; Weir, Robert M (1998). The American Journey – A History of the United States. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall. ISBN 978-0-13-656562-8.
  • Koplow, David A (2004). Smallpox: The Fight to Eradicate a Global Scourge. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-24220-3.
  • Sokolow, Alvin D (1997). "Town and Township Government: Serving Rural and Suburban Communities". Handbook of Local Government Administration. New York, NY: Marcel Dekker. ISBN 978-0-8247-9782-9.

Further reading

Overviews and surveys

Secondary sources

  • Abrams, Richard M. Conservatism in a Progressive Era: Massachusetts Politics, 1900–1912 (1964)
  • Adams, James Truslow. Revolutionary New England, 1691–1776 (1923)
  • Adams, James Truslow. New England in the Republic, 1776–1850 (1926)
  • Andrews, Charles M. The Fathers of New England: A Chronicle of the Puritan Commonwealths (1919), short survey
  • Conforti, Joseph A. Imagining New England: Explorations of Regional Identity from the Pilgrims to the Mid-Twentieth Century (2001)
  • Cumbler, John T. Reasonable Use: The People, the Environment, and the State, New England, 1790–1930 (1930), environmental history
  • Fischer, David Hackett. Paul Revere's Ride (1994), 1775 in depth
  • Flagg, Charles Allcott, A Guide to Massachusetts local history, Salem : Salem Press Company, 1907.
  • Green, James R., William F. Hartford, and Tom Juravich. Commonwealth of Toil: Chapters in the History of Massachusetts Workers and Their Unions (1996)
  • Huthmacher, J. Joseph. Massachusetts People and Politics, 1919–1933 (1958)
  • Labaree, Benjamin Woods. Colonial Massachusetts: A History (1979)
  • Morison, Samuel Eliot. The Maritime History of Massachusetts, 1783–1860 (1921)
  • Peirce, Neal R. The New England States: People, Politics, and Power in the Six New England States (1976), 1960–75 era
  • Porter, Susan L. Women of the Commonwealth: Work, Family, and Social Change in Nineteenth-Century Massachusetts (1996)
  • Sletcher, Michael. New England (2004).
  • Starkey, Marion L. The Devil in Massachusetts (1949), Salem witches
  • Tager, Jack, and John W. Ifkovic, eds. Massachusetts in the Gilded Age: Selected Essays (1985), ethnic groups
  • Zimmerman, Joseph F. The New England Town Meeting: Democracy in Action (1999)

External links

Preceded by
List of U.S. states by date of admission to the Union
Ratified Constitution on February 6, 1788 (6th)
Succeeded by

Coordinates: 42°18′N 71°48′W / 42.3°N 71.8°W


Boston is the capital and most populous city of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in the United States, as well as the 21st most populous city in the United States. The city proper covers 48 square miles (124 km2) with an estimated population of 694,583 in 2018, making it also the most populous city in New England. Boston is the seat of Suffolk County as well, although the county government was disbanded on July 1, 1999. The city is the economic and cultural anchor of a substantially larger metropolitan area known as Greater Boston, a metropolitan statistical area (MSA) home to a census-estimated 4.8 million people in 2016 and ranking as the tenth-largest such area in the country. As a combined statistical area (CSA), this wider commuting region is home to some 8.2 million people, making it the sixth most populous in the United States.Boston is one of the oldest municipalities in the United States, founded on the Shawmut Peninsula in 1630 by Puritan settlers from England. It was the scene of several key events of the American Revolution, such as the Boston Massacre, the Boston Tea Party, the Battle of Bunker Hill, and the Siege of Boston. Upon gaining U.S. independence from Great Britain, it continued to be an important port and manufacturing hub as well as a center for education and culture. The city has expanded beyond the original peninsula through land reclamation and municipal annexation. Its rich history attracts many tourists, with Faneuil Hall alone drawing more than 20 million visitors per year. Boston's many firsts include the United States' first public park (Boston Common, 1634), first public or state school (Boston Latin School, 1635) and first subway system (Tremont Street Subway, 1897).Today, Boston is a thriving port city. The Boston area's many colleges and universities make it an international center of higher education, including law, medicine, engineering, and business, and the city is considered to be a world leader in innovation and entrepreneurship, with nearly 2,000 startups. Boston's economic base also includes finance, professional and business services, biotechnology, information technology, and government activities. Households in the city claim the highest average rate of philanthropy in the United States; businesses and institutions rank among the top in the country for environmental sustainability and investment. The city has one of the highest costs of living in the United States as it has undergone gentrification, though it remains high on world livability rankings.

Calvin Coolidge

Calvin Coolidge (born John Calvin Coolidge Jr.; ; July 4, 1872 – January 5, 1933) was an American politician and lawyer who served as the 30th president of the United States from 1923 to 1929. A Republican lawyer from New England, born in Vermont, Coolidge worked his way up the ladder of Massachusetts state politics, eventually becoming governor. His response to the Boston Police Strike of 1919 thrust him into the national spotlight and gave him a reputation as a man of decisive action. The next year, he was elected vice president of the United States, and he succeeded to the presidency upon the sudden death of Warren G. Harding in 1923. Elected in his own right in 1924, he gained a reputation as a small government conservative and also as a man who said very little and had a rather dry sense of humor.Coolidge restored public confidence in the White House after the scandals of his predecessor's administration, and left office with considerable popularity. As a Coolidge biographer wrote: "He embodied the spirit and hopes of the middle class, could interpret their longings and express their opinions. That he did represent the genius of the average is the most convincing proof of his strength".Scholars have ranked Coolidge in the lower half of those presidents that they have assessed. He is praised by advocates of smaller government and laissez-faire economics, while supporters of an active central government generally view him less favorably, though most praise his stalwart support of racial equality.

Cambridge, Massachusetts

Cambridge ( KAYM-brij) is a city in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, and part of the Boston metropolitan area.

Situated directly north of Boston, across the Charles River, it was named in honor of the University of Cambridge in England, an important center of the Puritan theology embraced by the town's founders.Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Lesley University, and Hult Business School are in Cambridge, as was Radcliffe College, a college for women until it merged with Harvard on October 1, 1999.

According to the 2010 Census, the city's population was 105,162. As of July 2014, it was the fifth most populous city in the state, behind Boston, Worcester, Springfield, and Lowell. Cambridge was one of two seats of Middlesex County until the county government was abolished in Massachusetts in 1997.

Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Ann Warren (née Herring; born June 22, 1949) is an American politician and former academic serving as the senior United States Senator from Massachusetts since 2013. She was formerly a law school professor specializing in bankruptcy law. A member of the Democratic Party and a progressive, Warren has focused on consumer protection, economic opportunity, and the social safety net while in the Senate.

Warren is a graduate of the University of Houston and Rutgers Law School and has taught law at several universities, including the University of Houston, the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Pennsylvania, and Harvard University. She was one of the most influential professors in the field of commercial law before beginning her political career. She has authored five and coauthored six books.

Warren's first foray into public policy began in 1995 when she worked to oppose what eventually became a 2005 act restricting bankruptcy access for individuals. Her national profile grew during the late 2000s following her forceful public stances in favor of more stringent banking regulations after the 2007–08 financial crisis. She served as chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel of the Troubled Asset Relief Program and was instrumental in creating the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, of which she served as the first Special Advisor under President Obama.

In November 2012, Warren won the U.S. Senate election in Massachusetts, defeating incumbent Republican Scott Brown and becoming the first female Senator from Massachusetts. She was assigned to the Senate Special Committee on Aging; the Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee; and the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. Warren won reelection by a wide margin in 2018, defeating Republican nominee Geoff Diehl. On February 9, 2019, at a rally in Lawrence, Massachusetts, Warren announced her candidacy in the 2020 United States presidential election.

Harvard University

Harvard University is a private Ivy League research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with about 6,700 undergraduate students and about 13,100 postgraduate students. Established in 1636 and named for its first benefactor, clergyman John Harvard, Harvard is the United States' oldest institution of higher learning. Its history, influence, wealth, and academic reputation have made it one of the most prestigious universities in the world. It is cited as the world's top university by many publishers.The Harvard Corporation, chartered in 1650, is the governing body of Harvard. The early College primarily trained Congregational and Unitarian clergy, although it has never been formally affiliated with any denomination. Its curriculum and student body were gradually secularized during the 18th century, and by the 19th century, Harvard had emerged as the central cultural establishment among Boston elites. Following the American Civil War, President Charles W. Eliot's long tenure (1869–1909) transformed the college and affiliated professional schools into a modern research university; Harvard was a founding member of the Association of American Universities in 1900.A. Lawrence Lowell, who followed Eliot, further reformed the undergraduate curriculum and undertook aggressive expansion of Harvard's land holdings and physical plant. James Bryant Conant led the university through the Great Depression and World War II and began to reform the curriculum and liberalize admissions after the war. The undergraduate college became coeducational after its 1977 merger with Radcliffe College.

The university is organized into eleven principal academic units—ten faculties and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study—with campuses throughout the Boston metropolitan area: its 209-acre (85 ha) main campus is centered on Harvard Yard in Cambridge, approximately 3 miles (5 km) northwest of Boston; the business school and athletics facilities, including Harvard Stadium, are located across the Charles River in the Allston neighborhood of Boston; and the medical, dental, and public health schools are in the Longwood Medical Area. Harvard's endowment is worth $40.9 billion, making it the largest of any academic institution.

Harvard is a large, highly residential research university. The nominal cost of attendance is high, but the university's large endowment allows it to offer generous financial aid packages. The Harvard Library is the world's largest academic and private library system, comprising 79 individual libraries holding over 18 million items.Harvard's alumni include eight U.S. presidents, more than thirty foreign heads of state, 188 living billionaires, 364 Rhodes Scholars, and 252 Marshall Scholars. As of October 2019, 160 Nobel laureates, 18 Fields Medalists, and 14 Turing Award winners have been affiliated as students, faculty, or researchers. In addition, Harvard students and alumni have won 10 Academy Awards, 48 Pulitzer Prizes, and 108 Olympic medals (46 gold, 41 silver, and 21 bronze), as well as founded many notable companies worldwide.

John Adams

John Adams Jr. (October 30, 1735 – July 4, 1826) was an American statesman, attorney, diplomat, writer, and Founding Father who served as the second president of the United States from 1797 to 1801. Before his presidency, he was a leader of the American Revolution that achieved independence from Great Britain and served as the first vice president of the United States. Adams was a dedicated diarist and regularly corresponded with many important figures in early American history, including his wife and adviser, Abigail. His letters and other papers serve as an important source of historical information about the era.

A lawyer and political activist prior to the revolution, Adams was devoted to the right to counsel and presumption of innocence. He defied anti-British sentiment and successfully defended British soldiers against murder charges arising from the Boston Massacre. Adams was a Massachusetts delegate to the Continental Congress and became a principal leader of the Revolution. He assisted in drafting the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and was its foremost advocate in Congress. As a diplomat in Europe, he helped negotiate the peace treaty with Great Britain and secured vital governmental loans. Adams was the primary author of the Massachusetts Constitution in 1780, which influenced the United States' own constitution, as did his earlier Thoughts on Government.

Adams was elected to two terms as vice president under President George Washington and was elected as the United States' second president in 1796. During his single term, Adams encountered fierce criticism from the Jeffersonian Republicans and from some in his own Federalist Party, led by his rival Alexander Hamilton. Adams signed the controversial Alien and Sedition Acts and built up the Army and Navy in the undeclared "Quasi-War" with France. The main accomplishment of his presidency was a peaceful resolution of this conflict in the face of public anger and Hamilton's opposition. During his term, he became the first president to reside in the executive mansion now known as the White House.

In his bid for reelection, opposition from Federalists and accusations of despotism from Republicans led to Adams's loss to his former friend Thomas Jefferson, and he retired to Massachusetts. He eventually resumed his friendship with Jefferson by initiating a correspondence that lasted fourteen years. He and his wife generated a family of politicians, diplomats, and historians now referred to as the Adams political family, which includes their son John Quincy Adams, the sixth president of the United States. John Adams died on July 4, 1826 – the fiftieth anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence – hours after Jefferson's death. Surveys of historians and scholars have favorably ranked his administration.

John Cena

John Felix Anthony Cena Jr. (; born April 23, 1977) is an American professional wrestler, actor, rapper, and television presenter. As a wrestler, he is signed to WWE. As a TV personality, he is the host of Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader? on Nickelodeon.

Cena was born and raised in West Newbury, Massachusetts. He moved to California in 1998, where he pursued a career as a bodybuilder before transitioning into professional wrestling in 1999 when he debuted for Ultimate Pro Wrestling (UPW). Cena soon signed with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now WWE) in 2000, and was initially assigned to Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW).

In WWE, Cena gained industry fame after adopting a persona of a trash-talking rapper, and won his first singles title, the United States Championship, in 2004. The next year, Cena would win the WWE Championship for the first time. Following that, Cena's character transitioned into a "Superman-like" heroic figure, and subsequently led the company as its franchise player and public face for the next decade. Cena has headlined several major WWE pay-per-view events, closing the company's flagship annual event, WrestleMania, five times.

He has also won several championships in his career, being a five-time United States Champion, a four-time world tag team champion, and a WWE record sixteen-time world champion. He is also a two-time Royal Rumble match winner, and a Money in the Bank ladder match winner. Although he is considered to be one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all-time by his peers, Cena was regularly met with mixed critical and fan reception during his career, thus making him one of the most polarizing professional wrestlers ever.Outside of wrestling, Cena has attained success as a musician, actor, and philanthropist. He released the rap album You Can't See Me in 2005, which gained platinum certification in the United States. He has had leading film roles in The Marine (2006), 12 Rounds (2009), Trainwreck (2015), Ferdinand (2017), Blockers (2018), and Bumblebee (2018). He is also known for his involvement in numerous charitable causes, namely the Make-A-Wish Foundation, where he has granted over 600 wishes, the most in company history.

John F. Kennedy

John Fitzgerald Kennedy (May 29, 1917 – November 22, 1963), often referred to by initials JFK and Jack, was an American politician who served as the 35th president of the United States from January 1961 until his assassination in November 1963. Kennedy served at the height of the Cold War, and the majority of his work as president dealt with managing relations with the Soviet Union and Cuba. A Democrat, Kennedy represented Massachusetts in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate prior to becoming president.

Kennedy was born in Brookline, Massachusetts, and graduated from Harvard University in 1940, before joining the U.S. Naval Reserve the following year. During World War II, he commanded a series of PT boats in the Pacific theater and earned the Navy and Marine Corps Medal for his service. After the war, Kennedy represented the 11th congressional district of Massachusetts in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1947 to 1953. He was subsequently elected to the U.S. Senate and served as the junior Senator from Massachusetts from 1953 to 1960. While in the Senate, Kennedy published his book Profiles in Courage, which won a Pulitzer Prize for Biography. In the 1960 presidential election, he narrowly defeated Republican opponent Richard Nixon, who was the incumbent vice president.

Kennedy's administration included high tensions with communist states in the Cold War. He increased the number of American military advisers in South Vietnam. In April 1961, he authorized a vain attempt to overthrow the Cuban government of Fidel Castro in the Bay of Pigs Invasion. Kennedy authorized the Cuban Project in November 1961. He rejected Operation Northwoods (plans for false flag attacks to gain approval for a war against Cuba) in March 1962, however his administration continued to plan for an invasion of Cuba in the summer of 1962. In October 1962, U.S. spy planes discovered Soviet missile bases had been deployed in Cuba; the resulting period of tensions, termed the Cuban Missile Crisis, nearly resulted in the breakout of a global thermonuclear conflict. Domestically, Kennedy presided over the establishment of the Peace Corps and the continuation of the Apollo space program, and supported the Civil Rights Movement, but was only somewhat successful in passing his New Frontier domestic policies.

On November 22, 1963, he was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson assumed the presidency upon Kennedy's death. Marxist Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested for the state crime, but he was shot to death by Jack Ruby two days later. The FBI and the Warren Commission both concluded Oswald had acted alone in the assassination, but various groups contested the Warren Report and believed that Kennedy was the victim of a conspiracy. After Kennedy's death, Congress enacted many of his proposals, including the Civil Rights Act and the Revenue Act of 1964. Kennedy ranks highly in polls of U.S. presidents with historians and the general public. His personal life has also been the focus of considerable interest, following revelations of his chronic health ailments and extramarital affairs.

John Krasinski

John Burke Krasinski (; born October 20, 1979) is an American actor and filmmaker. Besides appearing in and making feature films, he is known for his role as Jim Halpert on the NBC sitcom The Office. He also served as a producer and occasional director of the series throughout its nine-season run.

Educated in theatre arts at Brown University and the National Theater Institute, Krasinski is the recipient of a number of accolades, including four Primetime Emmy Award nominations and two Screen Actors Guild Awards. Time named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2018.His film credits include

License to Wed (2007), Leatherheads (2008), Away We Go (2009), It's Complicated (2009), Something Borrowed (2011), Big Miracle (2012), Promised Land (2012), Aloha (2015), and 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi (2016). Krasinski directed and starred in the drama Brief Interviews with Hideous Men (2009) and the comedy-drama film The Hollars (2016). In 2018, Krasinski co-wrote, directed, and starred in the critically and commercially acclaimed horror film A Quiet Place. That year, he began portraying the title character in the Amazon thriller series Jack Ryan, which he also produced. He was nominated for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series at the Screen Actors Guild Awards for his role.

In addition to acting in television series and films, Krasinski has performed voice-over work in both animated and documentary films such as Monsters University and a small role in Shrek the Third. He established a production company, Sunday Night Productions, in 2013. Krasinski is married to actress Emily Blunt, and they have two daughters together.

John Quincy Adams

John Quincy Adams ( (listen); July 11, 1767 – February 23, 1848) was an American statesman, diplomat, lawyer, and diarist who served as the sixth president of the United States from 1825 to 1829. He previously served as the eighth United States Secretary of State from 1817 to 1825. During his long diplomatic and political career, Adams also served as an ambassador, and represented Massachusetts as a United States Senator and as a member of the United States House of Representatives. He was the eldest son of John Adams, who served as the second US president from 1797 to 1801, and First Lady Abigail Adams. Initially a Federalist like his father, he won election to the presidency as a member of the Democratic-Republican Party, and in the mid-1830s became affiliated with the Whig Party.

Born in Braintree, Massachusetts, Adams spent much of his youth in Europe, where his father served as a diplomat. After returning to the United States, Adams established a successful legal practice in Boston. In 1794, President George Washington appointed Adams as the U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands, and Adams would serve in high-ranking diplomatic posts until 1801, when Thomas Jefferson took office as president. Federalist leaders in Massachusetts arranged for Adams's election to the United States Senate in 1802, but Adams broke with the Federalist Party over foreign policy and was denied re-election. In 1809, Adams was appointed as the U.S. ambassador to Russia by President James Madison, a member of the Democratic-Republican Party. Adams held diplomatic posts for the duration of Madison's presidency, and he served as part of the American delegation that negotiated an end to the War of 1812. In 1817, newly-elected President James Monroe selected Adams as his Secretary of State. In that role, Adams negotiated the Adams–Onís Treaty, which provided for the American acquisition of Florida. He also helped formulate the Monroe Doctrine, which became a key tenet of U.S. foreign policy.

The 1824 presidential election was contested by Adams, Andrew Jackson, William H. Crawford, and Henry Clay, all of whom were members of the Democratic-Republican Party. As no candidate won a majority of the electoral vote, the House of Representatives held a contingent election to determine the president, and Adams won that contingent election with the support of Clay. As president, Adams called for an ambitious agenda that included federally-funded infrastructure projects, the establishment of a national university, and engagement with the countries of Latin America, but many of his initiatives were defeated in Congress. During Adams's presidency, the Democratic-Republican Party polarized into two major camps: one group, known as the National Republican Party, supported President Adams, while the other group, known as the Democratic Party, was led by Andrew Jackson. The Democrats proved to be more effective political organizers than Adams and his National Republican supporters, and Jackson decisively defeated Adams in the 1828 presidential election.

Rather than retiring from public service, Adams won election to the House of Representatives, where he would serve from 1831 to his death in 1848. He joined the Anti-Masonic Party in the early 1830s before becoming a member of the Whig Party, which united those opposed to President Jackson. During his time in Congress, Adams became increasingly critical of slavery and of the Southern leaders whom he believed controlled the Democratic Party. He was particularly opposed to the annexation of Texas and the Mexican–American War, which he saw as a war to extend slavery. He also led the repeal of the "gag rule," which had prevented the House of Representatives from debating petitions to abolish slavery. Historians generally concur that Adams was one of the greatest diplomats and secretaries of state in American history, but they tend to rank him as an above-average president.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is a private research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Institute is a land-grant, sea-grant, and space-grant university, with an urban campus that extends more than a mile (1.6 km) alongside the Charles River. The Institute also encompasses a number of major off-campus facilities such as the MIT Lincoln Laboratory, the Bates Center, and the Haystack Observatory, as well as affiliated laboratories such as the Broad and Whitehead Institutes. Founded in 1861 in response to the increasing industrialization of the United States, MIT adopted a European polytechnic university model and stressed laboratory instruction in applied science and engineering. It has since played a key role in the development of many aspects of modern science, engineering, mathematics, and technology, and is widely known for its innovation and academic strength, making it one of the most prestigious institutions of higher learning in the world.As of October 2019, 95 Nobel laureates, 26 Turing Award winners, and 8 Fields Medalists have been affiliated with MIT as alumni, faculty members, or researchers. In addition, 58 National Medal of Science recipients, 29 National Medals of Technology and Innovation recipients, 50 MacArthur Fellows, 73 Marshall Scholars, 48 Rhodes Scholars, 41 astronauts, and 16 Chief Scientists of the US Air Force have been affiliated with MIT. The school also has a strong entrepreneurial culture, and the aggregated annual revenues of companies founded by MIT alumni ($1.9 trillion) would rank roughly as the tenth-largest economy in the world (2014). MIT is a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU).


Nantucket is an island about 30 miles (50 km) by ferry south from Cape Cod, in the U.S. state of Massachusetts. Together with the small islands of Tuckernuck and Muskeget, it constitutes the Town of Nantucket, and the conterminous Nantucket County. As of the 2010 census, the population was 10,172. Part of the town is designated the Nantucket CDP, or census-designated place. The region of Surfside on Nantucket is the southernmost settlement in Massachusetts.

The name "Nantucket" is adapted from similar Algonquian names for the island, perhaps meaning "faraway land or island" or "sandy, sterile soil tempting no one."Nantucket is a tourist destination and summer colony. Due to tourists and seasonal residents, the population of the island increases to at least 50,000 during the summer months. The average sale price for a single-family home was $2.3 million in the first quarter of 2018.The National Park Service cites Nantucket, designated a National Historic Landmark District in 1966, as being the "finest surviving architectural and environmental example of a late 18th- and early 19th-century New England seaport town."

New England

New England is a region composed of six states in the northeastern United States: Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. It is bordered by the state of New York to the west and by the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick to the northeast and Quebec to the north. The Atlantic Ocean is to the east and southeast, and Long Island Sound is to the southwest. Boston is New England's largest city, as well as the capital of Massachusetts. Greater Boston is the largest metropolitan area, with nearly a third of New England's population; this area includes Worcester, Massachusetts (the second-largest city in New England), Manchester, New Hampshire (the largest city in New Hampshire), and Providence, Rhode Island (the capital and largest city of Rhode Island).

In 1620, Puritan Separatist Pilgrims from England established Plymouth Colony, the second successful English settlement in America, following the Jamestown Settlement in Virginia founded in 1607. Ten years later, more Puritans established Massachusetts Bay Colony north of Plymouth Colony. Over the next 126 years, people in the region fought in four French and Indian Wars, until the English colonists and their Iroquois allies defeated the French and their Algonquian allies in America. In 1692, the town of Salem, Massachusetts and surrounding areas experienced the Salem witch trials, one of the most infamous cases of mass hysteria in history.In the late 18th century, political leaders from the New England colonies initiated resistance to Britain's taxes without the consent of the colonists. Residents of Rhode Island captured and burned a British ship which was enforcing unpopular trade restrictions, and residents of Boston threw British tea into the harbor. Britain responded with a series of punitive laws stripping Massachusetts of self-government which the colonists called the "Intolerable Acts". These confrontations led to the first battles of the American Revolutionary War in 1775 and the expulsion of the British authorities from the region in spring 1776. The region played a prominent role in the movement to abolish slavery in the United States, and was the first region of the U.S. transformed by the Industrial Revolution, centered on the Blackstone and Merrimack river valleys.

The physical geography of New England is diverse for such a small area. Southeastern New England is covered by a narrow coastal plain, while the western and northern regions are dominated by the rolling hills and worn-down peaks of the northern end of the Appalachian Mountains. The Atlantic fall line lies close to the coast, which enabled numerous cities to take advantage of water power along the many rivers, such as the Connecticut River, which bisects the region from north to south.

Each state is subdivided into small incorporated municipalities known as towns, many of which are governed by town meetings. The only unincorporated areas exist in the sparsely populated northern regions of Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. New England is one of the Census Bureau's nine regional divisions and the only multi-state region with clear, consistent boundaries. It maintains a strong sense of cultural identity, although the terms of this identity are often contrasted, combining Puritanism with liberalism, agrarian life with industry, and isolation with immigration.

New England Patriots

The New England Patriots are a professional American football team based in the Greater Boston area. The Patriots compete in the National Football League (NFL) as a member club of the league's American Football Conference (AFC) East division. The team plays its home games at Gillette Stadium in the town of Foxborough, Massachusetts, which is located 28 miles (45 km) southwest of Boston, Massachusetts. The Patriots are also headquartered at Gillette Stadium.

Founded in 1959 as the Boston Patriots, an original member of the American Football League (AFL), the team joined the NFL in the leagues' 1970 merger, then changed its name when it moved to Foxborough in 1971. The New England Patriots played their home games at Foxboro Stadium through 2001, then moved to Gillette Stadium at the start of the 2002 season. The Patriots' rivalry with the New York Jets is considered one of the most bitter rivalries in the NFL.

Since the arrival of head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady in 2000, the Patriots have become one of the most successful teams in NFL history, claiming 16 AFC East titles as part of 18 consecutive winning seasons since 2001. The franchise has since set numerous notable records, including most wins in a ten-year period (126, in 2003–2012), an undefeated 16-game regular season in 2007, the longest winning streak consisting of regular season and playoff games in NFL history (a 21-game streak from October 2003 to October 2004), and the most consecutive division titles won by a team in NFL history (ten straight division titles from 2009 to 2018). The team owns the record for most Super Bowl appearances (nine) and wins (six) by a head coach–quarterback tandem, most conference championships overall (eleven), most Super Bowl appearances overall (eleven), tied with the Pittsburgh Steelers for the most Super Bowl wins (six), and tied with the Denver Broncos for the most Super Bowl losses (five).

Salem, Massachusetts

Salem () is a historic coastal city in Essex County, Massachusetts located in the North Shore region. It was settled in 1626 and was one of the most significant seaports in early American history.

Salem is a residential and tourist area that is home to the House of Seven Gables, Salem State University, Pioneer Village, the Salem Maritime National Historic Site, Salem Willows Park, and the Peabody Essex Museum. It features historic residential neighborhoods in the Federal Street District and the Charter Street Historic District.Much of the city's cultural identity reflects its role as the location of the infamous Salem witch trials of 1692, as featured in Arthur Miller's The Crucible. Police cars are adorned with witch logos, a public elementary school is known as Witchcraft Heights, and the Salem High School athletic teams are named the Witches. Gallows Hill was originally believed to be the site of numerous public hangings and is currently a park used as a playing field for various sports.

In 2012, the Retailers Association of Massachusetts chose Salem for their inaugural "Best Shopping District" award. On January 10, 2013, President Barack Obama signed executive order HR1339, designating Salem as the birthplace of the National Guard. The city's population was 41,340 at the 2010 census.

Steve Carell

Steven John Carell (; born August 16, 1962) is an American actor, comedian, producer, writer and director. He is well known for his portrayal of boss Michael Scott on the NBC sitcom The Office (2005–2013), on which he also worked as an occasional producer, writer and director.

Carell was a correspondent on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart from 1999 to 2005. He has starred in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004) and its 2013 sequel, The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005), Evan Almighty (2007), Get Smart (2008), Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011), The Incredible Burt Wonderstone and The Way, Way Back (both 2013). He has also voice acted in Over the Hedge (2006), Horton Hears a Who! (2008) and the Despicable Me franchise (2010–present). In 2016, Carell co-created the TBS comedy series Angie Tribeca with his wife, Nancy Carell.

Carell was nominated as "America's funniest man" in Life magazine, and received the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy for his work on the first season of The Office. In the 2010s, Carell received attention for more dramatic roles. His role as wrestling coach and convicted murderer John Eleuthère du Pont in the drama film Foxcatcher (2014) earned him, among various honors, nominations for the Academy Award for Best Actor, the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama and the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. He also received acclaim for his roles in Little Miss Sunshine (2006), The Big Short (2015), and Battle of the Sexes (2017), the latter two earning him his eighth and ninth Golden Globe Award nominations, respectively. In 2018, he re-teamed with Anchorman and The Big Short director Adam McKay for the Dick Cheney biopic Vice, in which he portrayed Donald Rumsfeld, and played journalist David Sheff in the drama Beautiful Boy.

University of Massachusetts Amherst

The University of Massachusetts Amherst (abbreviated UMass Amherst and colloquially referred to as UMass or Massachusetts) is a public research and land-grant university in Amherst, Massachusetts. It is the flagship campus of the University of Massachusetts system. UMass Amherst has an annual enrollment of approximately 1,300 faculty members and more than 30,000 students. It was ranked 26th best public university and 70th best national university by U.S. News Report in 2019. The university offers academic degrees in 109 undergraduate, 77 master's and 48 doctoral programs. Programs are coordinated in nine schools and colleges. The main campus is situated north of downtown Amherst. In 2012, U.S. News and World Report ranked Amherst among the Top 10 Great College Towns in America. It is also a member of the Five College Consortium.

The University of Massachusetts Amherst is categorized as a Research University with Highest research activity by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. In fiscal year 2014, UMass Amherst had research expenditures exceeding $200 million.UMass Amherst sports teams are called the Minutemen and Minutewomen, the colors being maroon, black, and white; the school mascot is Sam the Minuteman. All teams participate in NCAA Division I. The university is a member of the Atlantic 10 Conference, while playing ice hockey in Hockey East and football as an FBS Independent.

Worcester, Massachusetts

Worcester ( (listen) WUUS-tər) is a city in, and the county seat of, Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States. Named after Worcester, England, as of the 2010 Census the city's population was 181,045, making it the second-most populous city in New England after Boston. Worcester is approximately 40 miles (64 km) west of Boston, 50 miles (80 km) east of Springfield and 40 miles (64 km) north of Providence. Due to its location in Central Massachusetts, Worcester is known as the "Heart of the Commonwealth", thus, a heart is the official symbol of the city. However, the heart symbol may also have its provenance in lore that the Valentine's Day card, although not invented in the city, was mass-produced and popularized by Worcester resident Esther Howland.Worcester was considered its own distinct region apart from Boston until the 1970s. Since then, Boston's suburbs have been moving out further westward, especially after the construction of Interstate 495 and Interstate 290. The Worcester region now marks the western periphery of the Boston-Worcester-Providence (MA-RI-NH) U.S. Census Combined Statistical Area (CSA), or Greater Boston. The city features many examples of Victorian-era mill architecture.

Massachusetts state symbols
Flag of Massachusetts
Seal of Massachusetts
Living insignia
BirdBlack-capped chickadee,[11] wild turkey[12][13]
MammalRight whale,[17] Morgan horse,[18] Tabby cat,[19] Boston Terrier[20]
ReptileGarter snake[13][21]
TreeAmerican elm[13][22]
Inanimate insignia
BeverageCranberry juice[13][23]
ColorsBlue, green, cranberry[13][24]
DanceSquare dance[13][25]
FoodCranberry,[26] corn muffin,[13][27] navy bean,[28] Boston cream pie,[29] chocolate chip cookie,[30] Boston cream doughnut[31]
FossilDinosaur Tracks[32]
Poem"Blue Hills of Massachusetts"[13][35]
RockRolling Rock[13][36]
ShellNew England Neptune, Neptunea lyrata decemcostata[13][39]
ShipSchooner Ernestina [13]
SloganMake It Yours,
The Spirit of America[37]
State route marker
Massachusetts state route marker
State quarter
Massachusetts quarter dollar coin
Released in 2000[40]
Lists of United States state symbols
Atlantic Ocean
Gulf of Maine
Long Island Sound
Narragansett Bay
Upper New York Bay
The Berkshires
Holyoke Range
Metacomet Ridge
Mount Tom Range
Pocumtuck Range
Taconic Mountains
Wapack Range
Waterbodies of Massachusetts
Bays, Coves, and Sounds
Canals, Channels, and Straits
Islands and Peninsulas of Massachusetts
Places adjacent to Massachusetts
 Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Independent agencies
Protected areas of Massachusetts
Major cities
State capitals
Major cities
State capitals
Federal district
Insular areas
Outlying islands
Indian reservations


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