The removal of cows from Boston Common was a burning political issue of 1830. The anti-cow faction saw the 631-acre pasture on the western edge of the Shawmut peninsula as a potential site of leisure, recreation, and refinement. These petitioners often resided in the wealthier adjacent areas of the city. A counter petition emerged from pro-cow advocates who more likely earned their living, in part, from the keeping of animals. Boston’s town council decided in favor of the petition to ban cows; the common people appealed that decision the following year and lost again. This seemingly benign change in agricultural and social practice is presented as a turning point in the attitude of Bostonians...

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