THE TITLE OF THIS ARTICLE may seem somewhat paradoxical, or at the very least to require some definition of terms. If the government of the colony of Massachusetts Bay in early New England was indeed a "Bible Commonwealth," or even a theocracy, as it has also been characterized, is that not inconsistent with its being a "representative government" in any broad, or even literal sense? Alternatively, even if the government contained a recognizable representative element, was its voice so small, so insignificant, or so manipulated that it merely supported an entrenched religiously inspired oligarchy? The paradox, if there is one, can be resolved to some extent through an analysis of the degree to which the colony's governmental structure, as well as its laws, represented the desires, claims and interests of its small group of founders and leaders, on the one hand, and of the inhabitants generally, on the other. Such an analysis, tentative though it may prove to be, can at least suggest avenues for future research leading towards a more accurate understanding of the evolution of the instruments of government, and, more particularly, of representative institutions, in the colony.
Haskins, George L.
"Representative Government and the "Bible Commonwealth" in Early Massachusetts,"
Akron Law Review: Vol. 9
, Article 1.
Available at: http://ideaexchange.uakron.edu/akronlawreview/vol9/iss2/1