Portal:Massachusetts

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Massachusetts Listeni/ˌmæsəˈsɨts/, officially the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, is a U.S. state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. It is the 7th smallest, but the 14th most populous and the 3rd most densely populated of the 50 United States, and has the United States' sixth highest GDP per capita.

Massachusetts has played a significant historical, cultural, and commercial role in American history. Plymouth was the site of the colony founded in 1620 by the Pilgrims. Harvard University, founded in 1636, is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. The Protestant First Great Awakening originated from the pulpit of Northampton, Massachusetts preacher Jonathan Edwards. In the late 18th century, Boston became known as the "Cradle of Liberty" for the agitation there that led to the American Revolution. In 1786, a populist revolt led directly to the Constitutional Convention. Before the American Civil War, Massachusetts was a center for the temperance, transcendentalist, and abolitionist movements. In the late 19th century, basketball and volleyball were invented in Springfield and Holyoke, respectively. In 2004, Massachusetts became the first U.S. state to legally recognize same-sex marriage.

Originally dependent on fishing, agriculture, and trade, Massachusetts was transformed into a manufacturing center during the Industrial Revolution. During the 20th century, Massachusetts' economy shifted from manufacturing to services. In the 21st century, Massachusetts is a leader in higher education, health care technology, high technology, and financial services.

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Selected article

An aerial view of the MIT main campus
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is a private research university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States. MIT has five schools and one college, containing a total of 32 academic departments, with a strong emphasis on scientific, engineering, and technological education and research.

Founded in 1861 in response to the increasing industrialization of the United States, the institute adopted the European polytechnic university model and emphasized laboratory instruction from an early date. MIT's early emphasis on applied technology at the undergraduate and graduate levels led to close cooperation with industry. Curricular reforms under Karl Compton and Vannevar Bush in the 1930s re-emphasized basic scientific research. MIT was elected to the Association of American Universities in 1934. Researchers were involved in efforts to develop computers, radar, and inertial guidance in connection with defense research during World War II and the Cold War. Post-war defense research contributed to the rapid expansion of the faculty and campus under James Killian. MIT has a strong entrepreneurial culture. The aggregated revenues of companies founded by MIT alumni would rank as the eleventh-largest economy in the world.

MIT has kept pace with and helped to advance the digital age. In addition to developing the predecessors to modern computing and networking technologies, students, staff, and faculty members at Project MAC, the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, and the Tech Model Railroad Club wrote some of the earliest interactive computer video games like Spacewar! and created much of modern hacker slang and culture. Several major computer-related organizations have originated at MIT since the 1980s: Richard Stallman's GNU Project and the subsequent Free Software Foundation were founded in the mid-1980s at the AI Lab; the World Wide Web Consortium standards organization was founded at the Laboratory for Computer Science in 1994 by Tim Berners-Lee; and the One Laptop per Child initiative to expand computer education and connectivity to children worldwide was launched in 2005.

Selected biography

William S. Clark (1876)
William Smith Clark was a professor of chemistry, botany and zoology, a colonel during the American Civil War, and a leader in agricultural education. Raised and schooled in Easthampton, Massachusetts, Clark spent most of his adult life in Amherst, Massachusetts. He graduated from Amherst College in 1848 and obtained a doctorate in chemistry from Georgia Augusta University in Göttingen in 1852. He then served as professor of chemistry at Amherst College from 1852 to 1867. During the Civil War, he was granted leave from Amherst to serve with the 21st Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, eventually achieving the rank of colonel and the command of that unit. In 1867, Clark became the third president of the Massachusetts Agricultural College (MAC), now the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He was the first to appoint a faculty and admit a class of students. Although MAC faced criticism at the time, Clark's success in organizing an innovative academic institution earned him international attention, which led the Japanese government to hire Clark as a foreign advisor to establish the Sapporo Agricultural College (SAC), now Hokkaido University.

Selected location

Hingham Bay in April 2010
Hingham Bay is the easternmost of the three small bays of outer Boston Harbor, part of Massachusetts Bay and forming the western shoreline of the town of Hull and the northern shoreline of Hingham, in the state of Massachusetts. The bay is home to several of the Boston Harbor Islands.

Military posts were established on Peddocks Island and Fort Revere at the strategically important Hull Gut entrance to Hingham Bay beginning in the American Revolution. Ships and submarines were produced at Fore River Shipyard located on Weymouth Fore River near where the river enters Hingham Bay beginning in the early 20th century. During World War II, hundreds of ships produced for the United States Navy at Fore River Shipyard and the associated Bethlehem-Hingham Shipyard in Hingham first entered the Atlantic at Hingham Bay. Following the war, the list of possible locations for United Nations Headquarters included the unused land at World's End on Hingham Bay. The land was also later considered as a location for a nuclear power plant that was eventually built in Plymouth.


Selected picture

1812 political cartoon that led to the term Gerrymandering
Credit: Elkanah Tisdale (1812)

1812 political cartoon that led to the term Gerrymandering; originally appearing in the Boston Centinel

State facts

Location of Massachusetts in the United States
Location of Massachusetts in the United States
Atlas showing the location of the major urban areas and roads in Massachusetts
Atlas of Massachusetts with Boston highlighted

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