Following in the long line of succession of his predecessors, Francis W. Sargent served as the sixty-third governor of Massachusetts. A lifelong Republican, he was a man of character and sterling Yankee blue-blood lineage with the stature of a political independent. Grappling with a series of hot political issues and braving the passions and divisions spawned by the war in Vietnam, he was one of the ablest and most intriguing men ever to be governor. He worked hard at knowing his constituents and their concerns, but he did not always provide them with easy answers. Several new ideas were transformed into policy during his tenure as governor. Some of these adjustments required trial and error as well as the courage to face and learn from mistakes. This article reviews Sargent's political career in depth and evaluates his performance as chief executive.



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