Watertown, Massachusetts was founded in 1630 and for the first four years the church made decisions for the community. Starting in 1634 a group of leaders (selectmen) was elected to make decisions for the town. They were usually elected for a one year term.
In 1638, the selectmen provoked public outrage by granting themselves farms. The following year several were driven from office and it took years for them to regain their reputation1. They were voted out.
My ancestors, Samuel and Alice Stratton were in Watertown in 1647 although they may have been there earlier. It is unlikely that Samuel and Alice Stratton were in Watertown in 1638 but I feel confident that they would have spoken up against the corruption. Several times in the history of Watertown they were vocal against the leaders and accused them of accepting bribes.
Our current politicians appear to be equally corrupt. When they leave office they have millions in the bank. When they allow the government to be shut down they make sure that they get paid. Will we learn from our ancestors by voting them out?
1. Thompson, Roger. Divided We Stand Watertown Massachusetts 1630-1680, University of Massachusetts Press, Amherst, 2001