This essay, using census material, newspaper reports, and other primary sources, examines the impact of local control of public policy on ethnic working class in nineteenth century New England. Research on New England's ethnic groups often focuses on large textile centers dominated by outside interests such as Fall River, Massachusetts or Manchester, New Hampshire. Corporate interests in these cities displayed a disproportionate influence of public policy often serving corporate, not public, interests. The focus of this study, Fitchburg and Worcester, Massachusetts, exhibited well diversified economies controlled by local interests. Local control led public policy in a direction more beneficial to the local population, particularly the ethnic working class. As a result these two cities saw significantly more ethnic cooperation in all facets of life and much less ethnic tension which was so prevalent in the textile cities.

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