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The Political Incorporation of Portuguese Americans in New England: Partisan and Nonpartisan Ballots and Ethnic Populations

Dulce Maria Scott


Abstract. After a brief examination of structural factors that have been identified in the literature as having an impact on the path of political incorporation of immigrant populations, this paper provides a succinct comparative analysis of the political incorporation of Portuguese Americans in New Bedford, Fall River, Taunton, and East Providence, USA. The political integration and incorporation of Portuguese Americans has been highly successful in some of these cities, while in others the political potential of this population group has not been fully realized. This study also provides a brief, but more extensive, analysis of the election of Portuguese Americans in New Bedford, first to this city’s City Council and second to the Massachusetts Legislative Assembly. This historical study shows that Portuguese political incorporation in American society, among other factors, has been impacted by variable electoral system structures and varying ethnic population dynamics in the four cities examined.


Portuguese-American politics, Portuguese in New Bedford, New Bedford politics, immigrant political integration, political incorporation of Portuguese Americans

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