Mark Kenneth Gardner, Western Rhode Island Civic Historical Society Archive

The Peculiar History of Democracy in Rhode Island, 1636–2004

All politics is local quipped Speaker of the House Tip O’Neil; Rhode Island being the consummate exception that proves the rule. Democratic almost to the point of anarchy in the 17th century, Rhode Island was roundly condemned as far too democratic in colonial times.

One of the original innovators of two-party politics before the Revolution, as a state the once-liberal Rhode Island evolved into one of the most restrictive franchises by the 1840s, leading frustrated residents to invoke the right of rebellion in the Dorr War.

Democracy and two-party politics there have only gone downhill since then…

[View the slides on SlideShare,]

[Recorded March 08, 2014.]

History Camp Authors

    America's Summer Roadtrip 2020

      Mark Gardner

      Mark Kenneth Gardner, MA, ( | LinkedIn) has more than thirty years of teaching experience, at this time I teach US History at Chariho High School. I am also president of the Rhode Island Social Studies Association (RISSA) and am one of the state coordinators for Rhode Island Model Legislature. I am on the faculty of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Rhode Island, and I currently serve on Rhode Island Department of Education’s History and Social Studies Advisory Committee. I have also worked for RIDE editing interim test-bank questions for history and developing K-12 grade-span expectations for history and social studies.

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