Massachusetts: World War II to the Present

World War II to the Present

Industry spurted forward again during World War II, and in the postwar era the state continued to develop. Politically, the state again assumed national importance with the 1960 election of Senator John F. Kennedy as the nation's 35th President. In 1974, Michael S. Dukakis, a Democrat, was elected governor. He lost to Edward King in 1978, but won again in 1982 and was reelected in 1986. In 1988 he ran for president, losing to George H. W. Bush. Dukakis decided not to run again for governor.

During the postwar period the decline of textile manufacturing was offset as the electronics industry, attracted by the skilled technicians available in the Boston area, boomed along Route 128. Growth in the computer and electronics sectors, much of it spurred by defense spending, helped Massachusetts prosper during much of the 1980s. At the end of the decade effects of a nationwide recession and the burden of a huge state budget hit Massachusetts hard, but in the 1990s there was a substantial economic recovery, spearheaded by growth in small high-tech companies. Although known as a Democratic state, from 1991-2007 it had only moderate Republican governors--the streak ending with Mitt Romney (2003–7)—until Democrat Deval Patrick, the first African American to be elected governor of Massachusetts, won the post in 2006. Patrick was reelected in 2010. Republican Charles Baker was elected governor in 2014, narrowly defeating Democrat Martha Coakley, and was reelected in 2018. Like most other Republicans in the state, he has pursued moderate policies.

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