Guest Post: A New Forum Dedicated to the Study of the Dorr Rebellion and Constitutional Reform in Rhode Island

We at The Junto are thrilled to host this guest post from Erik J. Chaput and Russell J. DeSimone, who are the historians-in-residence on the Dorr Rebellion Project Site sponsored by Providence College. Chaput is the author of The People’s Martyr: Thomas Wilson Dorr and His 1842 Rhode Island Rebellion (University Press of Kansas, 2013). DeSimone is the author of Rhode Island’s Rebellion (Bartlett Press, 2009). Chaput and DeSimone have collaborated on a number of projects, including this article on Common-place.org. Chaput and DeSimone welcome feedback on the site. They can be contacted at: echaput@providence.edu and russbook1@cox.net.

The "People's Ticket," with a direct reference to 1776, served as a connection between the American and Dorr Rebellions.

The “People’s Ticket,” with a direct reference to 1776, served as a connection between the American and Dorr Rebellions.

When Rhode Island finally ratified the U.S. Constitution in May 1790, the state sent back to Congress eighteen amendments. These amendments revealed a deep suspicion of the new central establishment, a suspicion that had been increased by the failure to include a bill of rights. The first line of the lengthy third amendment declared that “the powers of government may be reassumed by the people, whensoever it shall become necessary to their happiness.” Continue reading