The Town was established in 1639 and incorporated as a Town in 1743. The Town is governed by a seven-member Town Council and an appointed Town Administrator. Local elections are held every two years in even years for all Town Council members. The Town adopted a Home Rule Charter November 5, 1968, under which all powers of the Town (including those powers formerly vested in and exercised by the Financial Town Meeting, which was discontinued) are vested in the elected Town Council.

The Town Council may enact local legislation subject only to the limitations imposed by the Charter, the State Constitution, and the General Laws. Under the Charter, the Town Council determines policy, enacts law, and appoints the Town Administrator.