Town Meetings: Democracy in Action in Rural New England

Local Government in Rural Communities
Talk at the Meekins Library
Williamsburg ♦ April 15th @ 2pm

Robinson's book, "Town Meeting," "traces the origins of town-meeting democracy in Ashfield, a community of just under 2,000 people in the foothills of the Berkshires in western Massachusetts. Donald Robinson begins by recounting several crises at the town's founding in the eighteenth century that helped to shape its character. He shows how the town has changed since then and examines how democratic self-government functions in the modern context."

Small, rural towns are much different in structure than urban and suburban areas are.  Instead of electing officials to make decisions, many small towns have an annual town meeting where community members can contribute their thoughts on issues being voted on.  This unique structure of government allows rural communities the opportunity to practice democracy on a very small scale – and it offers the opportunity for more voices to be heard.

On Sunday, April 15th at 2pm, the Meekins Library in Williamsburg is hosting a talk with Don Robinson, author of Town Meeting: Practicing Democracy in Rural New England.  Robinson, an Ashfield resident and former Smith College government professor, will speak about the unique event that is town meeting and how it reflects the democratic structure that our government is based on.

The talk is great for older students who are studying American History and/or government, as well as those who are beginning to participate in the local community more.  Attending the talk can help students learn about the importance of local government and the autonomy that town meeting allows small towns to have.  For more information, call Meekins Library at 413-268-7472.

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