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Oaths were taken seriously in the 18th and early 19th centuries. This document was used to make sure that newly elected members to a town's government thought and believed in a particular way. And when these new representatives swore their oath, people felt secure that they believed the things they swore to: few would have dared to violate a solemn oath such as this. This oath was drafted in the years after the American Revolution, when it was likely that someone in Deerfield, Massachusetts, would still have had allegiance to the King of England or who did not believe that Massachusetts should be a "free, sovereign" state. Each item in this oath was put there to prevent past or present enemies of the United States from serving on Deerfield's town government.