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, https://www.slideshare.net/MarkGardner5/history-camp-the-peculiar-history-of-democracy-in-rhode-island.]
[Recorded on 8 March 2014.]