Towns and Townships

Frank Abate abatefr at EARTHLINK.NET
Wed Nov 13 12:55:42 UTC 2002


I read through about half of those 4 postings.  It IS VERY informative
indeed, and his research and surmises are also quite good.

I have a few quibbles as to wording and as to a couple of facts, but minor
stuff really (e.g., it's not 100% accurate that Mass. has abandoned county
govt.; "township" is not an operative word in Conn. or Mass., and perhaps
elsewhere in the New England states).

If you are interested in this stuff (!), take a look at the front matter to
American Places Dict, which I did in the early 90s.  You should find it in
larger libraries; it is an Omnigraphics publication.  I talked about much of
this in there, but with a different method of organization.

I will reply to his and point out some things I saw, but overall it is
remarkably good and thorough.

Perhaps the most interesting thing that the variation shows is that US
states are really quite autonomous and did set up their own "customized" way
of doing things.  The oldest colonies/states -- Virginia, Mass., Conn., etc.
-- were virtual republics, and esp. so in the immediate post-colonial,
pre-Constitution years.  Vermont, Texas, and perhaps others actually
declared themselves as independent states at one time.  Early on,
pre-Constitution (under the Articles of Confederation), I understand that
some states sent out ambassadors to foreign nations.

So the fact that the states are all over the place as to how they "do" local
government, while surprising to discover, is historically explicable -- and
tells a lesson about what makes America tick.

All for local rule (and the fact that the Confederate states were legally
correct, but wanted for guns and ammo factories),


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