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List of Committees, Appointed at a meeting of the friends of the present State Administration, held at the Court House, in this City, on Thursday Evening, April 10, 1834.

Broadside, Dorr War]

Published by N.P. [Providence, RI]. N.Pub. [? Committee of Certificate Voters]. ., 1834
From Gadshill (Providence, RI, U.S.A.)

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1 p. 6" W x 14 3/4" H Signed in ink on reverse:"Walter R. Danorth Esq.". After the American Revolution, Rhode Island continued to be governed by the Colonial Charter, given to Roger Williams by King Charles II in 1663. Suffrage limited to property holders, a weak Governor and judicial system and power strongly centered in the Legislature were its chief features. While the other colonies developed balanced constitutional systems with separation of powers, Rhode Island remained static, despite being the first locus of the Industrial Revolution in America. There was a progressive disappearance of agrarian landholders among the class of Freemen along with the increase in immigration, both in the northern cities, especially Providence. Voter eligibility declined to barely 3500 active voters in the state (Mowry, p.33). The early decades of the 19th century saw unrest among the disenfranchised citizens and agitation for extension of the suffrage and pursuit of greater democracy through replacement of the charter with a new constitution (Gettleman). In February–March, 1834 this agitation began to come to a head, leading to systematic action in the form of establishing a committee to consider the best approaches to a new constitution and extended suffrage. An "Address to the People" was prepared "masterfully" (Mowy, p. 38) written by Thomas Wilson Dorr, an activist lawyer, declaring suffrage to be a "natural right". The Charter was severely criticized and a constitutional convention recommended as well as changes to the judiciary. In June, 1834 the legislature recommended a convention but chose the delegates from among the voting freemen and the issue gradually died. It was resurrected in 1842 with more agitation by Dorr and his associates, ultimately leading to the armed rebellion known as the Dorr War. This broadside appeared between Dorr's "Address to the People" and the Legislative session and appears to be the formation of Committees by friends of the existing government to counter the suffrage movement. Among them, however, were some voters later in favor of the "Peoples Movement", among them Barrington Anthony whose house became the headquarters of the armed rebellion, and Thoma F. Carpenter, a lawyer active in the "Committee of Nine Lawyers" who argued n 1842 for the legitimacy of a "People's Convention" and constitutional reform. (Gettleman, pp. 64–9). An interesting broadside relating to the the early movements toward the Door Rebellion in Rhode Island (yet unrecorded in DeSimone & Schofield) listing the composition of various committees (including Vigilance Committees) in each ward of Providence) loyal to the Charter Government in 1834. Mild brownng Few small stains or ink marks in margins. Else, Very Good. Mowry. pp. 25–44. Gettleman, pp. 3–29 Loose sheet. Elaborate printer's devices form border surrounding entire text. Bookseller Inventory # 10841

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Bibliographic Details

Title: List of Committees, Appointed at a meeting ...

Publisher: N.P. [Providence, RI]. N.Pub. [? Committee of Certificate Voters]. .

Publication Date: 1834

Illustrator: Decorated.

Edition: First Edition.

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