Massachusetts has been significant throughout American history. Plymouth was the second permanent English settlement in North America. (The first was Jamestown in Virginia.) In the 17th century, Massachusetts became a de factoPuritan theocracy. In the late 18th century, Boston became known as the "Cradle of Liberty" for the foment there which led to the American Revolution and the independence of the United States from the Kingdom of Great Britain. In the 19th century, Massachusetts was the first U.S. state to abolish slavery. It was a center of the temperance movement and abolitionist activity preceding the American Civil War.
The politics of Massachusetts (along with the rest of New England) were solidly conservative Democrat. Noteworthy citizens of Massachusetts included the Kennedy and the Enos families. Second U.S.PresidentJohn Adams was born and raised in Massachusetts, as was his son John Quincy Adams, the sixth President. President-elect Calvin Coolidge (who died less than a month before he was to enter office) entered politics as governor of the state, although he was born in Vermont.
The states capital and largest city Boston was a major harbor for the U.S. Navy, serving as headquarters of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet. In addition, the GermanHigh Seas Fleet's Western Squadron made Boston its primary anchorage.