Rhode Island and the Formation of the Union

By Frank Greene Bates | Go to book overview

CHAPTER I
THE COLONY OF RHODE ISLAND AND PROVIDENCE PLANTATIONS

THE course pursued by the State of Rhode Island at the time of the formation of the Federal Union forms a distinct episode in the history of America. The fact that the people of a state should adhere tenaciously to their own opinions to the point of denying to themselves all participation in the framing of the constitution, and of refusing for a considerable period of time to accept the work of their neighbors, indicates that behind it all must have been most powerful and far-reaching causes. An historic view of the circumstances attending Rhode Island's adoption of the constitution, together with an examination of the causes of this event, is the purpose of this study. In a study of causes it is sometimes possible to distinguish between those immediate and those more remote. The line of demarkation, often difficult to determine, has been drawn in this instance at the point where Rhode Island first united with the other colonies in opposition to the British ministry. The immediate causes are found in the circumstances attending the Revolution, and in a train of events leading down to the Federal Convention. Among the remoter causes may be included a wide range of facts and tendencies which have gone to shape the political system, and the character of the people of Rhode Island.

The settlers of the four towns afterwards united as the colony of Rhode Island were refugees. Like the settlers of

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