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Rhode Island Declares Independence – Pic of the Week

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Title page of the Constitution of the State of Rhode Island from 1842
Constitution of the State of Rhode Island, 1842 [Photo by Betty Lupinacci]
Happy Independence Day (if you live in Rhode Island)!

On May 4, 1776, Rhode Island became the first territory to renounce its allegiance to Great Britain and King George III.

On this day, the general assembly passed an act, declaring Rhode Island and Providence Plantations an independent state. Providence Plantations refers to the first permanent European American settlement in Rhode Island. It was established in 1636 by the English clergyman Roger Williams.

So for today’s Pic of the Week, we present a photo of the cover of an early version of Rhode Island’s Constitution.  This 1842 document is the result of another Rhode Island uprising, the state’s “Dorr Rebellion“.  Prior to the Dorr Rebellion, the state was still using the colonial charter as its ruling document. The uprising and resulting constitution expanded citizens’ rights by extending suffrage to any native-born adult male, a right which previously was only granted to landowners.

Comments (2)

  1. Oh how wonderful. I did not realize that Rhode Island renounced its allegiance to England in May of 1776.

    I do enjoy this site. Thanks

  2. My ancestor, John Larkin, Jr. was the third signor of the Acts of Secession from Great Britain on May , 1776.

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