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The entire Commonwealth of Massachusetts has played a powerful commercial and cultural role in the history of the United States.
Before the American Civil War, Massachusetts was a center for the abolitionist, temperance, Many prominent American political dynasties have hailed from the state, including the Adams and Kennedy families.
Adams was highly involved in the push for separation from Britain and the writing of the Massachusetts Constitution in 1780 which, in the Elizabeth Freeman and Quock Walker cases, effectively made Massachusetts the first state to have a constitution that declared universal rights and, as interpreted by Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice William Cushing, abolished slavery.
Anti-Parliamentary activity by men such as Samuel Adams and John Hancock, followed by reprisals by the British government, were a primary reason for the unity of the Thirteen Colonies and the outbreak of the American Revolution in 1775.It has been translated as "near the great hill", Alternatively, Massachusett has been represented as Moswetuset—from the name of the Moswetuset Hummock (meaning "hill shaped like an arrowhead") in Quincy, where Plymouth Colony commander Miles Standish, hired English military officer, and Squanto, part of the now disappeared Patuxet band of the Wampanoag peoples, met Chief Chickatawbut in 1621.In the early 1600s, after contact had been made with Europeans, large numbers of the indigenous people in the northeast of what is now the United States were killed by virgin soil epidemics such as smallpox, measles, influenza, and perhaps leptospirosis.On the coast, Salem, became a center for privateering.
Although the documentation is incomplete, about 1,700 Letters of Marque, issued on a per-voyage basis, were granted during the American Revolution.
Nearly 800 vessels were commissioned as privateers and are credited with capturing or destroying about 600 British ships.