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Letter from Rev. Henry H. Barber to his daughter Alice B. Coleman re: Boss Politics

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This letter from Reverend Henry H. Barber to his daughter Alice B. Coleman describes the downfall of a political boss in the town of Saco, Maine. A political boss is a person who holds a great deal of power in their particular area. They played a major roll in the politics of the 19th and early 20th centuries here in the United States. Mr. Page was apparently the head of York Mills, a large cotton manufacturer which, at the turn of the century, operated eight mills in the Factory Island Mill District of Saco. As head of this large employer, Page had quite a bit of power over how people voted, and was even able to keep the mill from being taxed at the full rate. The nineteenth amendment, which granted women the right to vote, was ratified on August 26, 1920. It only took the women of Saco six months after that to become a force in bettering city government and ousting Page. Page died shortly after the election, and Barber refers to it as a variation on the Ananias case, which is a biblical reference to a character in the New Testament who was struck dead for lying.


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