Massachusetts Society & Culture

Boston

Massachusetts is one of the Northeaster states of the USA, and belongs to the New England region. The population of Massachusetts is coming closer to 7 million people, which of 2014 made it the 3rd most densely populated state. Out of these 7 million citizens, around 1 million, or around 15%, are foreign-born. A large portion of the population resides in Boston, which is the state capital in addition to being the state’s largest city.

Puritans and tea parties
Massachusetts was settled by puritan Christians in the 17th century and is still a predominantly Christian state, although by 2015 32% of the population reported identifying with no specific religion. This is a relatively high number, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that these people feel no religious connection at all, rather that they don’t have a relationship with a specific religious denomination.

Low angle view of a statue in a garden, George Washington statue, Boston Public Garden, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

The civil war had a great impact on Massachusetts history, and particularly two horrific events stand out as important. Firstly, the Boston Massacre in 1770 and secondly, the Boston Tea Party 1773. In fact, the Boston Tea Party has been credited with being the single incident that spurred on the American Revolution and a pivoting point of the resistance against British rule.

Liberal politics, top universities and a respect for the arts
In the past few decades Massachusetts has been a predominantly democratic state, and it has been called the country’s most liberal state. The state has been on the forefront for the fight for gay rights, and was the first state to make same-sex marriage legal in 2004.

Massachusetts is also known for its high prestige and high quality institutions of higher learning. The state is home to two of the absolute top universities in the country, not to mention in the world; Harvard University and MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), both of which are located in Cambridge.

The state has also contributed strongly to arts and culture, and has given us such names as Emily Dickinson, Sylvia Plath and Nathaniel Hawthorne. In addition to producing several great poets and authors, Massachusetts also heavily supports the performing arts. This is visible through large music venues and festivals, as well as the state’s very vibrant and vivid theatre and ballet scene.

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