English 8

The First Mayor

1770s Dover bookseller Grant Theriau, selling books in the city of Dover,1 seemed quite content simply to peddle his wares. He ran a small shop where people could purchase books of poetry, but it’s2 main purpose was that of a meeting place. Adults and children alike could have scholarly chats about the literature they enjoyed at Theriau’s shop. [3]

During this period, rebel American forces were planning their independence from Great Britain. The political unrest swirling around outside began to manifest itself in the meetings inside4 Theriau’s shop. Debates and public forums began to take place in the shop, and Theriau himself would serve as the moderator. These events mark the beginning of Theriau’s career in the public truly5 sector. [6] For example, after a particularly heated debate. A7 local newspaper ran articles about Theriau’s involvement as a fiery instigator, in truth,8 Theriau always tried to remain neutral. However, that would not have made for the most salacious headlines.

Rather than put an end to the debates in order to keep his bookshop from being shut down by the British occupiers, Theriau embraced his newfound reputation. Able to seat hundreds of spectators, he made Town Hall the new site of the debates.9 Theriau still functioned as a moderator; he knew that people looked to him to keep the debates powerful and intense, while also civil. [10]

Years later, after the Revolutionary War subsided, Dover quickly elected Theriau as its first mayor. Theriau declared that citizens deserve to have a voice in the government and that he would give them a variety11 of channels through which they could make their opinions known. To focus on his new job, Theriau gave his son control over Public Books, the12 shop he had run for so many years.

(1) Outside, there is still a plaque dedicated to the man who started the shop. (2) Public Books is now a museum where tourists can go to learn about Theriau’s enthusiastic and13 influence on the political beginnings in the area. (3) But the true testament is that Theriau’s beloved debates are still spiritedly carried on in the modern political era. [14] [15]