Currently Reading: The Dorr War: Treason, Rebellion & The Fight For Reform in Rhode Island

The book is by Rory Raven and the Kindle edition is only $9.99!

I’m only at location 220 out of 2156 but I found this quote and just had to share it. The quote is from former President of Brown University Francis Wayland (Hence, Wayland Square in Providence) around the time of 1834.

Wayland didn’t like immigrants. That much is certain. He’d probably hate my Italian-American ass, but here is what he said:

We ought to recollect that all the evils which may result from an extension of suffrage will be evils beyond our reach. We shall entail them upon our latest posterity without remedy. Open this door, and the whole frame and character of our institutions are changed forever.

Now go and listen to the arguments of the religious bigots of the 21st century and you get the uneasy feeling that this element of haters has been with us for a minimum of two centuries, and probably a hell of a lot more.

But we the people are winning. The religious arguments are looking more and more ridiculous as time rolls away from us.

This is why I love reading local history as well as other historical works. You glean so much of the zeitgeist of the time when you delve into the history.

Another interesting thing in the book resolves a quandary I’ve had for some time. A friend of ours believes that RI is still a royal property. I think I know where it comes from now.

You see in 1663 the State of Rhode Island, then a colony, received a charter from King Charles II. That charter stood until 1840. Recall I have mentioned before that RI was the last of the original thirteen colonies to approve the U.S. constitution. Well – we took our sweet time breaking away from the charter.

But make no mistake about it, the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations is part of the United States, not of the UK. And we have a rather proud history behind us. Which is all the more frustrating since we should be on the leading edge of freedom today. Sadly we are not.

3 thoughts on “Currently Reading: The Dorr War: Treason, Rebellion & The Fight For Reform in Rhode Island

  1. RI was the last to sign the Constitution because it insisted on a Bill of Rights, which was finally added.

    New York’s divorce law from the time of Charles II was not changed until the 1970’s.

    The problem with keeping the royal charter until 1840 meant that RI would become the ONLY state to not model its constitution on the federal constitution. That is, it keeps until this day a strong legislature and a weak governor. It blurs the line between legislative and executive powers, which causes problems even today.

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