Eleven times over the course of a couple of years, the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations calls conventions to consider ratification of the Constitution. And eleven times, the State refuses to agree to the Constitution and continue to operate under their state Charter/Constitution of 1633. this allows Rhode Island to continue to manipulate its currency and to protest slavery.
The problem is that she cannot go it alone. And it becomes obvious that the worst fears of the Anti-Federalists are not immediately coming to pass, pressure mounts on the Governor, a staunch Country Party leader named John Collins, to state the obvious – that the Constitution represents the best interests of the people of the State of Rhode Island. his supporters who elected him to the Governorship still don’t agree.
The twelfth convention is called in Newport, as Congress passes a bill to economically isolate Rhode Island. this time, John Collins will sacrifice his political career for the betterment of the nation, not the Country Party.
The Constitution guarantees each and every state a “republican form of government.” So is Florida’s rather hectic and confused use of multiple methods of amending its State Constitution actually “Constitutional” in the sense of being done by a “republican form of government” as guaranteed in Article IV, Section 4?
Once upon a time, 1633, to be exact, King Charles issued a Royal Charter for the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantation. Oddly enough, by the time Rhode Island got around to ratifying the Constitution in May of 1790 (the final original State to do so), the charter was still in operation and was held to be in compliance with Article IV Section 4’s guarantee of “a republican form of government.”
By the time the 1840s rolled around, most of the people living in Rhode Island disagreed and decided to write their own State Constitution and elect their own Governor. This did not sit well with either the current government of the State nor with the President of the United States. So when the two sides tried to come to blows, it went about like you would expect it to have, since you’ve never heard about it or seen it in your high school history books.
But it did teach us quite a bit about what a “republican form of government” really is…
As August fades into September, General Washington is feeling pretty upbeat about how things are going. At least one delegate believes that they will be done “i9n three weeks time.” Others aren’t so ready to finish things without getting their say. Every attempt to resolve the matter of the Presidency is met with an objection and a move to delay.
Soon enough, the Committee on Postponed Parts will have their hands full trying to resolve everything that has been postponed.
In the meanwhile, the Convention seems to, for the first time, consider why a new form of Government is needed, beyond the Randolph outline of so many weeks ago. The principles that underlie the nation are Life, Liberty, and Property. There is a general realization that a stronger central government is the best guarantee of those. watching what is happening in Rhode Island has convinced them that left to themselves, the States will not provide those protections.
With that in mind, the Delegates take up the Judiciary and the power of the States over commerce, money, and contracts. They believe that the federal Governments control of these items, among others, will provide the best guarantee of Life, Liberty, and Property.