Charles Bulfinch was an early American architect, has been regarded by many as the first native-born American to practice architecture as a profession. Bulfinch split his career between his native Boston and Washington, D. C. where he served as Commissioner of Public Building and built the intermediate United States Capitol rotunda and dome. His works are notable for their simplicity and good taste, as the origin of a distinctive Federal style of classical domes and ornament that dominated early 19th-century American architecture. Bulfinch was born in Boston to Thomas Bulfinch, a prominent physician, his wife, Susan Apthorp. At the age of 12, he watched the Battle of Bunker Hill from this home on the Boston side of the Charles River, he was educated at Boston Latin School and Harvard University, from which he graduated with an AB in 1781 and master's degree in 1784. He made a grand tour of Europe from 1785 to 1788, traveling to London and the major cities of Italy. Bulfinch was influenced by Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio.
He was influenced by the classical architecture in Italy and the neoclassical buildings of Sir Christopher Wren, Robert Adam, William Chambers and others in the United Kingdom. Thomas Jefferson became something of a mentor to him in Europe, as he would be to Robert Mills. Upon his return to the United States in 1787, he became a promoter of the ship Columbia Rediviva's voyage around the world under command of Captain Robert Gray, it was the first American ship to circumnavigate the globe. In 1788 he married his first cousin, their sons include Thomas Bulfinch, author of Bulfinch's Mythology, Stephen Greenleaf Bulfinch, Unitarian clergyman and author. Bulfinch's first building was the Hollis Street Church. Among his other early works are a memorial column on Beacon Hill, the first monument to the American Revolution, he was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1791. Over the course of ten years, Bulfinch built a remarkable number of private dwellings in the Boston area, including Joseph Barrell's Pleasant Hill, a series of three houses in Boston for Harrison Gray Otis, the John Phillips House.
He built several churches in Boston. Serving from 1791 to 1795 on Boston's board of selectmen, he resigned due to business pressures but returned in 1799. From 1799 to 1817, he was the chairman of Boston's board of selectmen continuously, served as a paid Police Superintendent, improving the city's streets and lighting. Under his direction, both the infrastructure and civic center of Boston were transformed into a dignified classical style. Bulfinch was responsible for the design of the Boston Common, the remodeling and enlargement of Faneuil Hall, the construction of India Wharf. In these Boston years he designed the Massachusetts State Prison. Despite this great activity and civic involvement, Bulfinch was insolvent several times starting in 1796, including at the start of his work on the statehouse, was jailed for the month of July 1811 for debt. There was no payment for his services as selectman, he received only $1,400 for designing and overseeing the construction of the State House. In the summer of 1817, Bulfinch's roles as selectman and public official coincided during a visit by President James Monroe.
The two men were constantly in each other's company for the week-long visit, a few months Monroe appointed Bulfinch the successor to Benjamin Henry Latrobe as Architect of the Capitol in Washington, D. C. In this position he was paid a salary of $2,500 per year plus expenses; as Commissioner of Public Building, Bulfinch completed the Capitol's wings and central portion, designed the western approach and portico, constructed the Capitol's original low wooden dome to his own design. In 1829 Bulfinch completed the construction of the Capitol, 36 years after its cornerstone was laid. During his interval in Washington, Bulfinch drew plans for the State House in Augusta, Maine, a Unitarian Church and prison in Washington, D. C.. In 1827, he was elected into the National Academy of Design as an Honorary member, he returned to Boston in 1830, where he died on April 15, 1844, aged 80, was buried in King's Chapel Burial Ground in Boston. His tomb was moved to Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
In 1943, a United States Liberty ship named. The ship was scrapped in 1971. Amory-Ticknor House, Boston Boylston Market, Boston Faneuil Hall, Boston Federal Street Church Federal Street Theatre, Boston First Church of Christ, Unitarian Harrison Gray Otis House, Boston Massachusetts State House, Boston New South Church Old State House Maine State House Superior Courthouse and Bartlett Mall, Massach
The Federalist Party, referred to as the Pro-Administration party until the 3rd United States Congress as opposed to their opponents in the Anti-Administration party, was the first American political party. It existed from the early 1790s to the 1820s, with their last presidential candidate being fielded in 1816, they appealed to business and to conservatives who favored banks, national over state government and preferred Britain and opposed the French Revolution. The Federalists called for a strong national government that promoted economic growth and fostered friendly relationships with Great Britain as well as opposition to Revolutionary France; the party controlled the federal government until 1801, when it was overwhelmed by the Democratic-Republican opposition led by Thomas Jefferson. The Federalist Party came into being between 1792 and 1794 as a national coalition of bankers and businessmen in support of Alexander Hamilton's fiscal policies; these supporters developed into the organized Federalist Party, committed to a fiscally sound and nationalistic government.
The only Federalist President was John Adams. George Washington was broadly sympathetic to the Federalist program, but he remained non-partisan during his entire presidency. Federalist policies called for a national bank and good relations with Great Britain as expressed in the Jay Treaty negotiated in 1794. Hamilton developed the concept of implied powers and argued the adoption of that interpretation of the United States Constitution, their political opponents, the Democratic-Republicans led by Thomas Jefferson, denounced most of the Federalist policies the bank and implied powers. The Jay Treaty passed and the Federalists won most of the major legislative battles in the 1790s, they held a strong base in New England. After the Democratic-Republicans, whose base was in the rural South, won the hard-fought presidential election of 1800, the Federalists never returned to power, they recovered some strength through their intense opposition to the War of 1812, but they vanished during the Era of Good Feelings that followed the end of the war in 1815.
The Federalists left a lasting legacy in the form of a strong Federal government with a sound financial base. After losing executive power, they decisively shaped Supreme Court policy for another three decades through the person of Chief Justice John Marshall. On taking office in 1789, President Washington nominated New York lawyer Alexander Hamilton to the office of Secretary of the Treasury. Hamilton wanted a strong national government with financial credibility. Hamilton proposed the ambitious Hamiltonian economic program that involved assumption of the state debts incurred during the American Revolution, creating a national debt and the means to pay it off and setting up a national bank, along with creating tariffs. James Madison was Hamilton's ally in the fight to ratify the new Constitution, but Madison and Thomas Jefferson opposed Hamilton's programs by 1791. Political parties had not been anticipated when the Constitution was drafted in 1787 and ratified in 1788 though both Hamilton and Madison played major roles.
Parties were considered to be harmful to republicanism. No similar parties existed anywhere in the world. By 1790, Hamilton started building a nationwide coalition. Realizing the need for vocal political support in the states, he formed connections with like-minded nationalists and used his network of treasury agents to link together friends of the government merchants and bankers, in the new nation's dozen major cities, his attempts to manage politics in the national capital to get his plans through Congress "brought strong" responses across the country. In the process, what began as a capital faction soon assumed status as a national faction and as the new Federalist Party; the Federalist Party supported Hamilton's vision of a strong centralized government and agreed with his proposals for a national bank and heavy government subsidies. In foreign affairs, they supported neutrality in the war between Great Britain; the majority of the Founding Fathers were Federalists. Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and many others can all be considered Federalists.
These Federalists felt that the Articles of Confederation had been too weak to sustain a working government and had decided that a new form of government was needed. Hamilton was made Secretary of the Treasury and when he came up with the idea of funding the debt he created a split in the original Federalist group. Madison disagreed with Hamilton not just on this issue, but on many others as well and he and John J. Beckley created the Anti-Federalist faction; these men would form the Republican party under Thomas Jefferson. By the early 1790s, newspapers started calling Hamilton supporters "Federalists" and their opponents "Democrats", "Republicans", "Jeffersonians", or—much later—"Democratic-Republicans". Jefferson's supporters called themselves "Republicans" and their party the "Republican Party"; the Federalist Party became popular with businessmen and New Englanders as Republicans were farmers who opposed a strong central government. Cities were Federalist strongholds whereas frontier regions were Republican.
However, these are generalizations as there are special cases such as the Presbyterians of upland North Carolina, who had immigrated just before the Revolution and been Tories, became Federalists. The Congregationalists of New England and the Episcopalians in the larger cities supported the Federalists while other minority denominations tended toward the Republican camp. Catholics
Sally Foster Otis
Sally Foster Otis was the wife of lawyer and businessman Harrison Gray Otis. Known for her beauty and wit, Mrs. Otis was the acknowledged "queen of Boston society" of her time, attending parties and, along with her husband, playing host to prominent Bostonians and visitors to the city. Sally Foster was born January 1770 in Boston, Massachusetts to wealthy parents. Foster married Harrison Gray Otis on May 31, 1790 at the age of 20, she had eleven children. As Mrs. Otis, she took on the role of managing their large home and playing hostess to frequent parties because of her husband’s public status, she was responsible for many of the family's business interests. Sally was known for her "beauty and wit, as well as for an intellectual vivacity tempered always by an indescribable grace." She exercised a great interest in French culture and fashion. John Adams wrote: “Mrs. Otis is and always has been a charming woman.” According to historian Samuel Morison, Sally Otis always presented herself impeccably and maintained her stately qualities up until her death in 1838.
Sally Foster Otis died September 6, 1838, at the age of 68, at their residence on Beacon Street in Boston
Joseph Bradley Varnum
Joseph Bradley Varnum was a U. S. politician of the Democratic-Republican Party from Massachusetts. He served as a U. S. Representative and United States Senator, held leadership positions in both bodies. A native of Dracut, Varnum was the son of farmer, militia officer and local official Samuel Varnum and Mary Prime, he became a self-taught scholar. Varnum became a farmer, at age 18 received his commission as a captain in the Massachusetts militia, he commanded Dracut's militia company during the American Revolution and remained in the militia afterwards attaining the rank of major general in 1805. Varnum took part in the government of Massachusetts following independence, including member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives from 1780 to 1785 and member of the Massachusetts State Senate from 1786 to 1795. Despite not being an attorney, Varnum served as a judge, including terms as a Justice of the Massachusetts Court of Common Pleas and Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Court of General Sessions.
He was a member of the U. S. House from 1795 to 1811, was Speaker of the House from 1807 to 1811. Varnum served in the U. S. Senate from 1811 to 1817, was the Senate's President pro tempore from 1813 to 1814. After leaving the U. S. Senate, Varnum served in the Massachusetts State Senate until his death, he was buried at Varnum Cemetery in Dracut. Joseph Bradley Varnum was born in Dracut, Massachusetts, in Middlesex County, on January 29, 1750 or 1751. At the age of eighteen, he was commissioned captain by the committee of Massachusetts Bay Colony, in 1787 colonel by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, he was made brigadier general in 1802, in 1805 major general of the state militia, holding the latter office at his death in 1821. After serving in the Massachusetts militia during the American Revolutionary War, Varnum helped to destroy the Shays insurrection before he was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives and the Massachusetts State Senate, he served as a Justice of the Massachusetts Court of Common Pleas and as Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Court of General Sessions.
In 1794, Varnum was elected to the U. S. House of Representatives, where he served from March 4, 1795 until his resignation on June 29, 1811. During his last four years in the House, he served as its Speaker. Varnum was elected to the U. S. Senate in 1811 to fill the vacancy in the term, he became the only U. S. Senator from the Democratic-Republican Party in Massachusetts history. Varnum served as President pro tempore of the U. S. Senate from June 29, 1811 to March 3, 1817, during the Thirteenth Congress, he was the Chair of the Senate Committee on Militia during the Fourteenth Congress. After returning to Massachusetts in 1817, Varnum again served in the Massachusetts State Senate, until his death on September 21, 1821. Varnum died in Dracut, is interred in Varnum Cemetery in that town, his brother was Major General James Mitchell Varnum who commanded the 1st Rhode Island Regiment from 1775 to 1777, served as a brigade commander at the Battle of Rhode Island and served as the major general in command of the Rhode Island Militia.
Henry Wilson, in his History of Slavery, quotes Varnum in the debate on the bill for the government of the Mississippi Territory before the United States House of Representatives in March 1798 as having been strong and outspoken in his opposition to Negro servitude. On March 3, 1805, Varnum submitted a Massachusetts Proposition to amend the Constitution and Abolish the Slave Trade; this proposition was tabled until 1807, when under Varnum's leadership the amendment moved through Congress and passed both houses on March 2, 1807. President Thomas Jefferson signed it into law on March 3, 1807. Varnum, Joseph. “Autobiography of General Joseph B. Varnum.” Edited by James M. Varnum. Magazine of American History 20: 405–14. United States Congress. "Joseph Bradley Varnum". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Attribution: This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: "Varnum, James Mitchel". Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography. 1889
The Hartford Convention was a series of meetings from December 15, 1814 to January 5, 1815, in Hartford, United States, in which the New England Federalist Party met to discuss their grievances concerning the ongoing War of 1812 and the political problems arising from the federal government's increasing power. The convention discussed removing the three-fifths compromise, which gave slave states disproportionate power in Congress, requiring a two-thirds majority in Congress for the admission of new states, declarations of war, creating laws restricting trade; the Federalists discussed their grievances with the Louisiana Purchase and the Embargo of 1807. However, weeks after the convention's end, news of Major General Andrew Jackson's overwhelming victory in New Orleans swept over the Northeast and disgracing the Federalists, resulting in their elimination as a major national political force. Under the administrations of George Washington and John Adams, a vigorous trade with France was maintained while both administrations engaged in an undeclared war with France.
With the resumption of the Napoleonic Wars at the same time that Thomas Jefferson assumed office, relations with both France and Great Britain deteriorated. Jefferson's goal was an expansion of free trade through Great Britain's lifting of trade restrictions placed against the United States. However, to pressure Britain into compliance, he adopted anti-foreign trade policies such as the Embargo Act of 1807 and the Non-Intercourse Act of 1809; these policies were unpopular among Northeastern merchants and shippers. Jefferson's successor, President James Madison, what is now called the Democratic-Republican Party, continued his policies; the opposing Federalist Party regained strength in New England and New York. When Madison was re-elected in 1812 the discontent in New England intensified. In late 1813 Madison signed a more restrictive embargo act than any of those approved by Jefferson, this time prohibiting all trade between American ports and fishing outside harbors. By the summer of 1814, the war had turned against the Americans.
After ending their war with Napoleonic France, Great Britain was able to marshal more resources to North America and had blockaded the entire eastern coastline. Territory in the Maine district of Massachusetts was occupied in July, in August the White House and Capitol were burned, by September the British were advancing further in Maine and the Lake Champlain area of New York. A naval assault on Boston was expected in the near future. Free trade with the rest of the world had ceased, thousands were thrown out of work, by August banks were suspending specie payment; the federal government was approaching bankruptcy. New England governors followed a policy of giving minimal support to the Federal government in waging the war. With the exception of Governor John Taylor Gilman of New Hampshire, most requisitions for state militia were denied. New Englanders were reluctant to have their militia, needed to defend their coasts from British attacks, assigned elsewhere or placed under the command of the regular army.
General Winfield Scott, after the war, blamed Madison's policy of ignoring Federalists, who in New England constituted the best educated class, when granting regular army commissions in New England. The anti-war sentiment in Massachusetts was so strong that Samuel Dexter, the Democratic-Republican candidate for governor, opposed the national party's commerce policies. Federalists still dominated the 1814 elections, returning Caleb Strong as governor and electing 360 Federalists against only 156 Democratic-Republicans to the lower house of the Massachusetts Legislature. In September Governor Strong refused a request to provide and support 5,000 troops to retake territory in Maine; because Massachusetts and Connecticut had refused to subject their militia to the orders of the War Department, Madison declined to pay their expenses. Critics said that Madison had abandoned New England to the common enemy; the Massachusetts Legislature appropriated $1 million to support a state army of 10,000 men.
Harrison Gray Otis, who inspired these measures, suggested that the eastern states meet at a convention in Hartford, Connecticut. As early as 1804 some New England Federalists had discussed secession from the Union if the national government became too oppressive. In September 1814 Madison asked Congress for a conscription bill. Though this had not been one of the original grievances that led to the call for the convention, Federalists presented this as further proof that the Democratic-Republicans intended to bring military despotism into the nation. Thomas Grosvenor of New York saw this as the result of the administration leading the country "defenseless and naked, into that lake of blood she is yet swimming". Secession was again mentioned in 1814–1815. Otis, the key leader of the Convention, blocked radical proposals such as a seizure of the Federal customs house, impounding federal funds, or declaring neutrality. Otis thought the Madison administration was near collapse and that unless conservatives like himself and the other delegates took charge, the radical secessionists might take power.
Indeed, Otis was unaware that Massachusetts Governor Strong had sent a secret mission to discuss terms with the British for a separate peace. There are a number of reasons why historians doubt that the New England Federalists were considering secession. All the states Connecticut with its claims to western lands, stood to lose more th
William Eustis was an early American physician and statesman from Massachusetts. Trained in medicine, he served as a military surgeon during the American Revolutionary War, notably at the Battle of Bunker Hill, he soon entered politics. After several terms in the state legislature, Eustis won election to the United States Congress in 1800, serving as a moderate Democratic-Republican, he returned to state politics after losing reelection in 1804, was chosen to be Secretary of War in 1809 by President James Madison. Due in part to his inexperience at managing the army and a lack of preparedness, the military failures in the early months of the War of 1812 were laid on his shoulders, leading to his resignation. Madison appointed Eustis Minister to the Netherlands, a post he held from 1814 until 1818. After another period in Congress, he was elected Governor of Massachusetts in 1822. A popular successor to long-serving John Brooks, Eustis died in office in 1825, his Boston mansion, built in the 1750s by royal governor William Shirley, is known as the Shirley-Eustis House and is a National Historic Landmark.
William Eustis was born on June 10, 1753 in Cambridge, to Benjamin Eustis, a prominent Boston doctor, Elizabeth Eustis. He was the second surviving son of twelve children, he was educated at the Boston Latin School before he entered Harvard College, from which he graduated in 1772. While at Harvard he belonged to an undergraduate militia unit called the Martimercurian Band. After graduation he studied medicine under a well-known Patriot political leader; when the Battles of Lexington and Concord sparked the American Revolutionary War in April 1775, Warren and Eustis both worked in the field, tending the injured revolutionaries. Warren secured for Eustis a commission as regimental surgeon to the rebel artillery. Eustis helped care for the wounded at the June 1775 Battle of Bunker Hill, in which Warren was killed, he served with the Continental Army in the New York and New Jersey campaign, refusing a lieutenant colonel's commission offered by artillery chief Henry Knox. During his Continental Army service, Eustis met and established an enduring friendship with New Jersey native Aaron Burr.
In 1777 Eustis was placed in command of a military hospital established at the former residence of Loyalist Beverley Robinson north of New York City, where he remained for the duration of the war. In September 1780 he played a minor role in events surrounding the flight of traitor Benedict Arnold: he treated Arnold's wife Peggy, hysterical over the sudden departure of her husband and the discovery of his plot. After the war Eustis returned to medical practice in Boston, he was once again called on to serve in military matters when Shays' Rebellion broke out in western Massachusetts in 1786, becoming surgeon to the militia force raised by General Benjamin Lincoln that quashed the rebellion in the early months of 1787. Eustis became vice president of the Society of the Cincinnati in 1786, a post he held until 1810, again in 1820. Eustis was elected to the Massachusetts General Court from 1788 to 1794, which he left because he was "sick of" the political gamesmanship in the body, he was thereafter chosen to serve on the Governor's Council for two years.
In 1800 he ran for a seat in the United States House of Representatives. During his successful campaign against Josiah Quincy, Eustis was charged with either authoring, or being complicit in the production of, letters that formed a part of the 1783 Newburgh Conspiracy, a threatened uprising in the Continental Army. Eustis publicly was silent on his role in the affair. Eustis was a moderate Democratic-Republican who did not seek the significant reforms more radical Republicans wanted, he demonstrated this by voting against President Thomas Jefferson's repeal of the Judiciary Act of 1801, a Federalist bill passed in the late days of the John Adams administration that had expanded the number of seats on the federal bench. In 1802 Eustis was reelected, defeating John Quincy Adams, in a rematch of the 1800 election with Quincy, Eustis was defeated by fewer than 100 votes. While in the House, he was one of the managers appointed by the House of Representatives in 1804 to conduct the impeachment proceedings against John Pickering, judge of the United States District Court for New Hampshire.
In 1804 he argued in favor of arming merchant vessels headed for the West Indies. When James Madison became president in 1809, he sought to enhance the status of the Democratic-Republicans in Federalist-dominated New England. To that end he chose Eustis to be his Secretary of War. Eustis was not a good choice for the post, lacking the necessary administrative skills and detailed military background, he had difficult relations with James Wilkinson and Wade Hampton, two senior army commanders. Eustis made a major push to update the military's field manuals, which had not changed since the Revolutionary War. After acquiring copies of manuals published in 1791 for use by the armies of the French Republic, Eustis commissioned a translation and lobbied for adoption of new manuals based on French tactics. Although a new manual was ready for use in 1812, it was not well received by the officer corps, was not used in the war that broke out that year; as tensions grew between the United States and Great Britain, Eustis made modest moves to improve military readiness, but did not otherwise distinguish himself or introduce other initiatives or proposals.
Boston Latin School
The Boston Latin School is a first build public exam school in Boston, Massachusetts. It was established on April 23, 1635, making it both the oldest school in America and the first public school in the United States; the Public Latin School was a bastion for educating the sons of the Boston "Brahmin" elite, resulting in the school claiming many prominent New Englanders as alumni. Its curriculum follows that of the 18th century Latin school movement, which holds the classics to be the basis of an educated mind. Four years of Latin are mandatory for all pupils who enter the school in the 7th grade, three years for those who enter in the 9th. In 2007, the school was named one of the top 20 high schools in the United States by U. S. News & World Report magazine, it was named a 2011 "Blue Ribbon School of Excellence", the Department of Education's highest award. As of 2018, it is listed under the "gold medal" list, ranking 48 out of the top 100 high schools in the United States by U. S. News & World Report.
The Puritans placed a strong emphasis on education for their children. Puritan leaders themselves were accustomed to the highest educational standards, with most of their ministers having graduated from Oxford or Cambridge University in England, they established Boston Latin School in Massachusetts Bay Colony and modeled it after the European Latin schools which emphasized religion and classical literature. They were not funded by taxes but by donations and land rentals. A school established in nearby Dedham was the first tax-supported public school. Latin was an educational priority in the 17th century; the ability to read at least Cicero and Virgil was a requirement of all colonial colleges, to write and speak Latin in verse and prose was the first of the Harvard laws of 1642. Boston Latin prepared many students for admission to Harvard, with a total of seven years devoted to the classics. However, most graduates of Boston Latin did not go on to college, since business and professions did not require college training.
In 2015, Boston Latin School had 2,400 pupils drawn from Boston. It has produced four Harvard University presidents, four Massachusetts governors, five signers of the United States Declaration of Independence. Benjamin Franklin and Louis Farrakhan are among its well-known dropouts; the School began as the South Grammar School and was modeled after the Boston Grammar School in Lincolnshire, England. The Latin School admitted only male students and hired only male teachers from its founding in 1635 into the 19th century. Helen Magill White was the school's first female graduate and the first American woman to earn a doctorate; the Girls' Latin School was founded in 1877, Boston Latin admitted its first co-educational class in 1972. The school appointed Marie Frisardi Cleary and Juanita Ponte as the first two women in its academic faculty in 1967. Cornelia Kelley was the school's first female headmaster, serving from 1998 until her retirement in 2007, after which Lynne Mooney Teta became headmaster.
A cadet corps was founded during the American Civil War. Boston Latin's motto is Sumus Primi, Latin; this is a double entendre, referring both to the school's date of its academic stature. Boston Latin has a history of pursuing the same standards as elite New England prep schools while adopting the egalitarian attitude of a public school. Academically, the school outperforms public schools in affluent Boston suburbs as measured by the yearly MCAS assessment required of all Massachusetts public schools. In 2006, Brooklyn Latin School was founded in New York City, explicitly modeled on Boston Latin, borrowing much from its traditions and curriculum. Admission is determined by a combination of a student's score on the Independent School Entrance Examination and recent grades, is limited to residents of the city of Boston. Although Boston Latin runs from the 7th through the 12th grade, it admits students only into the 7th and 9th grades; the higher grades have fewer students than the lower grades, as a large number of students transfer out.
The school has been described as having a sink-or-swim environment, but in recent years there have been notable efforts to create a more supportive atmosphere. Because it is a high-performing and well-regarded school, Boston Latin has been at the center of controversy concerning its admissions process. Admissions are competitive, it is not uncommon for fewer than 20% of applicants to be admitted. Before the 1997 school year, Boston Latin set aside a 35% quota of places in its incoming class for under-represented minorities; the school was forced to drop this policy after a series of lawsuits involving non-minority girls who were not admitted despite ranking higher than admitted minorities. Boston Latin subsequently defeated a legal effort to do away with its admissions process and conduct admissions by blind lottery. Since 1997, the percentage of under-represented minorities at Boston Latin has fallen from 35% to under 19% in 2005, despite efforts by Boston Latin, the Boston Public Schools, the Boston Latin School Association to recruit more minority applicants and retain more minority students.
Some advocate instituting a quota for the number of students that must be admitted from Boston's public middle schools. Declamation is the most time-honored of the school's traditions. Pupils in the 7th to 10th grade are required to give an oration, known as'Declamation', in their English class three times during the year. There is Public Declamation, where pupils from all grades, or classes, are welcomed to try out for the chance to declaim a memorized piece in front of an asse