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The Berkshires is small and removed, peculiar in its
character and isolation. The Pilgrims and Puritans landed in 1620.
Springfield was incorporated in 1640. It
took less than 20 years for settlers to find and settle Springfield. But it took
ninety-three years more before settlers found their way from Springfield to the
southern tip of the Berkshires. Sheffield was incorporated in 1733. Mountains
and waterways separated and shielded the Berkshires. A peculiar difference separated
it ideologically. And yet, even given its isolation and singularity, the Berkshires stand as a perfect introduction to, and even a microcosm of, the founding of the
United States of America.
Carole Owens is a columnist and author, holding a Ph.D. from Yeshiva University. She is a Massachusetts Scholar in Residence with a Paul Tsongas Award for History and
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