The Margaret Chase Smith Essays

The Creative Economy in Maine

by Evan S. Dobelle Over the past several years, New England’s cities have looked with considerable success to the “creative economy” to spark revitalization efforts. The term refers to a host of economic factors, ranging from the role of arts and cultural assets, such as museums and symphony orchestras in local communities, to the rising […]

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Exceeding Expectation and the Knotty Question of State Tourism Policy

by Kathryn Hunt Two events in the last year tell an interesting story and, perhaps, suggest some ideas for untangling the knotty question of state tourism policy. This is an essay about those two events—the National Folk Festival, now entering its third year in its host city, Bangor, and the Biathlon World Cup, recently hosted […]

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The Dream of Coming Home

by Nancy Grape Ask a Stonington lobsterman how he feels about people “from away” coming to live out their golden years in Maine, and you may be met with a silence as hard as granite and as cold as the Atlantic. Waterfronts are for fishing boats, that silence is saying, not for gentrified retirement condos. […]

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Maine Code of Election Ethics

By Gregory P. Gallant A few weeks ago during my morning commute up I-95, I saw a Cold War relic, a bumper sticker that had been popular during the seventies and eighties. It went something like this: “It will be a great day when our schools get all the money they need and the Air […]

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Warren Durgin’s Gravestone and the Renewal of American Civic Democracy

By Theda Skocpol More than a mile down a narrow winding road, the earthly remains of William Warren Durgin of North Lovell, Maine, lie in a small out-of-the-way cemetery peppered with tiny headstones nestled amidst trees along a brook. The unpretentiousness of Durgin’s resting place is appropriate for a backwoods farmer, lumberman, and spoolmaker who […]

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Finding Community at Home

by Katherine M. Greenleaf In 1999 I put a stake in the ground—literally. It started when I decided to stop being “from” Maine and decided to be “in” Maine. My address did not change, but my focus did. I decided to live my life in a community of interest and place. In the last five […]

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Closing the Class Gap in Civic Participation

by Amy Fried When the young Alexis de Tocqueville came to the United States in 1831, he found a nation teeming with energy and filled with citizens who were involved in their local governments and communities. By getting involved, citizens learned to care for those outside of their circles of families and friends. People could […]

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What Would Margaret Chase Smith Have Made of Bill Clinton’s Tragi-Comedy?

by Charles Calhoun Among the few bright spots in President Clinton’s impeachment trial were the occasional historical footnotes. For example, when both parties caucused in the Old Senate Chamber some journalists wrote of Charles Sumner’s near-fatal beating there, 143 years earlier. The Massachusetts senator was sitting quietly at his desk, writing letters, when South Carolinian […]

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Bridging the Disconnect

by David Mathews In 1991, Richard Harwood had just completed a study for the Kettering Foundation on the way Americans felt about the political system and insisted that the conventional wisdom-that the public was happily apathetic-was misleading. The people he heard in focus groups across the country weren’t apathetic. They were mad as the devil […]

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