Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)

Department

History

First Advisor

Donna Seger

Abstract

In the 1880s, the town of Beverly, Massachusetts, was shaken to its core by a movement to divide the town and secure the independence of its wealthy Beverly Farms village. Soon, this municipal civil war threatened to thrust the Commonwealth of Massachusetts into political scandal. This thesis delves into the local background and national context of the Beverly division movement before tracing its progression from opposition to a street railway extension in 1885 to its pivotal point of near success in 1887. In the process, the paper discusses how, through embodiment of class division issues and concern over the growing influence of money in politics during the American Gilded Age, an effort to divide Beverly in two became the crisis of the Commonwealth.

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