An upper house is one of two chambers of a bicameral legislature, the other chamber being the lower house. The house formally designated as the upper house is smaller and has more restricted power than the lower house. Examples of upper houses in countries include the Australian Senate, Brazil's Senado Federal, the Canadian Senate, France's Sénat, Germany's Bundesrat, India's Rajya Sabha, Ireland's Seanad, Malaysia's Dewan Negara, the Netherlands' Eerste Kamer, Pakistan's Senate of Pakistan, Russia's Federation Council, Switzerland's Council of States, United Kingdom's House of Lords and the United States Senate. A legislature composed of only one house is described as unicameral. An upper house is different from the lower house in at least one of the following respects: Powers: In a parliamentary system, it has much less power than the lower house. Therefore, in certain countries the Upper House votes on only limited legislative matters, such as constitutional amendments, cannot initiate most kinds of legislation those pertaining to supply/money, cannot vote a motion of no confidence against the government, while the lower house always can.
In a presidential system: It may have nearly equal power with the lower house. It may have specific powers not granted to the lower house. For example: It may give consent to some executive decisions, it may have the sole power to try impeachment cases against officials of the executive or judicial branch, following enabling resolutions passed by the lower house. It may have the sole power to ratify treaties. In a semi-presidential system, like France It may have less power than the lower house: in France, the Government can decide to legislate a normal law without the Sénat's agreement, but It may have equal power to the lower house regarding the constitution or the territorial collectivities, it may not vote a motion of no confidence against the government, but it may investigate State cases. It may make proposals of laws to the lower house. Status: In some countries, its members are not popularly elected, its members may be elected with a different voting system than that used to elect the lower house.
Less populated states, provinces, or administrative divisions may be better represented in the upper house than in the lower house. Members' terms may be for life. Members may be elected in portions, for staggered terms, rather than all at one time. In some countries, the upper house cannot be dissolved at all, or can be dissolved only in more limited circumstances than the lower house, it has fewer members or seats than the lower house. It has a higher age of candidacy than the lower house. In parliamentary systems the upper house is seen as an advisory or "revising" chamber; some or all of the following restrictions are placed on upper houses: Lack of control over the executive branch. No absolute veto of proposed legislation, though suspensive vetoes are permitted in some states. In countries where it can veto legislation, it may not be able to amend the proposals. A reduced or absent role in initiating legislation. No power to block supply, or budget measures In parliamentary democracies and among European upper houses the Italian Senate is a notable exception to these general rules, in that it has the same powers as its lower counterpart: any law can be initiated in either house and must be approved in the same form by both houses.
Additionally, a Government must have the consent of both to remain in office, a position, known as "perfect bicameralism" or "equal bicameralism". The role of a revising chamber is to scrutinise legislation that may have been drafted over-hastily in the lower house and to suggest amendments that the lower house may reject if it wishes to. An example is the British House of Lords. Under the Parliament Acts 1911 and 1949, the House of Lords can no longer prevent the passage of most bills, but it must be given an opportunity to debate them and propose amendments, can thereby delay the passage of a bill with which it disagrees. Bills can only be delayed for up to one year before the Commons can use the Parliament Act, although economic bills can only be delayed for one month, it is sometimes seen as having a special role of safeguarding the uncodified Constitution of the United Kingdom and important civil liberties against ill-considered change. The British House of Lords has a number of ways to block legislation and to reject it, the House of Commons can use the Parliament Act to force something through.
The Commons will bargain and negotiate with the Lords such as wh
The speaker of a deliberative assembly a legislative body, is its presiding officer, or the chair. The title was first used in 1377 in England; the speaker's official role is to moderate debate, make rulings on procedure, announce the results of votes, the like. The speaker decides who may speak and has the powers to discipline members who break the procedures of the chamber or house; the speaker also represents the body in person, as the voice of the body in ceremonial and some other situations. The title was first recorded in 1377 to describe the role of Thomas de Hungerford in the Parliament of England. By convention, speakers are addressed in Parliament as'Mister Speaker', if a man, or'Madam Speaker', if a woman. In other cultures other styles are used being equivalents of English "chairman" or "president". Many bodies have a speaker pro tempore, designated to fill in when the speaker is not available; the Speaker of the House of Representatives is the presiding officer of the Australian House of Representatives, the lower house of the Parliament of Australia.
The President of the Senate is the presiding officer of the Australian Senate, the upper house of the Parliament. In Canada, the Speaker of the House of Commons is the individual elected to preside over the House of Commons, the elected lower house; the speaker is a Member of Parliament and is elected at the beginning of each new parliament by fellow MPs. The Speaker's role in presiding over Canada's House of Commons is similar to that of speakers elsewhere in other countries that use the Westminster system; the Speaker does not vote except in the case of a tie. By convention, if required to vote, the Speaker will vote in favour of continuing debate on a matter, but will not vote for a measure to be approved; the Speaker of the Senate of Canada is the presiding officer of the Senate of Canada, the appointed upper house. The Speaker represents the Senate at official functions, rules on questions of parliamentary procedure and parliamentary privilege, presides over debates and voting in the "Red Chamber".
The Speaker of the Senate is appointed by the Governor General of Canada from amongst sitting senators upon the advice of the Prime Minister. The Speaker has a vote on all matters. In the event of a tie, the matter fails. At the provincial level, the presiding officer of the provincial legislatures is called the "Speaker" in all provinces except Quebec, where the term "President" is used; the presiding officer fulfills the same role as the Speaker of the House of Commons. Parliamentarism in Italy is centered on the Presidents of the two Houses, vested in defense of the members and of the assembly as a whole. Now constitutional community highlights changes in this role. In Singapore, the Speaker of the Parliament of Singapore is the head officer of the country's legislature. By recent tradition, the Prime Minister nominates a person, who may or may not be an elected Member of Parliament, for the role; the person's name is proposed and seconded by the MPs, before being elected as Speaker. The Constitution states.
While the Speaker does not have to be an elected MP, they must possess the qualifications to stand for election as an MP as provided for in the Constitution. The Speaker cannot be a Cabinet Minister or Parliamentary Secretary, must resign from those positions prior to being elected as Speaker; the Speaker is one of the few public sector roles which allow its office-holder to automatically qualify as a candidate in the Singapore presidential elections. The Speaker is the individual elected to preside over the elected House of Commons; the speaker is a Member of Parliament and is elected at the beginning of each new parliament by fellow MPs. The Lord Speaker is the presiding officer of the House of Lords; the used "Speaker of the House of Lords" is not correct. The presiding officer of the House of Lords was until the Lord Chancellor, a member of the government and the head of the judicial branch; the Lord Chancellor did not have the same authority to discipline members of the Lords that the speaker of the Commons has in that house.
The Lord Speaker is elected by the members of the House of Lords and is expected to be politically impartial. Both chambers of the United States Congress have a presiding officer defined by the United States Constitution; the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives presides over the lower house of Congress, the House of Representatives, is elected to that position by the entire House membership. Unlike in Commonwealth realms, the position is partisan, the Speaker plays an important part in running the House and advancing a political platform; the Vice President of the United States, as provided by the United States Constitution formally presides over the upper house, the Senate. In practice, the Vice President has a rare presence in Congress owing to responsibilities in the Executive branch and the fact that the Vice President may only vote to break a tie. In the Vice President's absence, the presiding role is delegated to the most Senior member of the majority party, the President pro tempore of the United States Senate.
Since the Senate's rules give little power to its non-member presider, the task of presiding over daily business is rotated among junior members of the majority party. In the forty-nine states that have a bicameral legislature, the highest leadership position in the
Rhode Island Senate
The Rhode Island Senate is the upper house of the Rhode Island General Assembly, the state legislature of the U. S. state of the lower house being the Rhode Island House of Representatives. It is composed of 38 Senators. Rhode Island is one of the 14 states where its upper house serves at a two-year cycle, rather than the normal four-year term as in the majority of states. There is no limit to the number of terms; the Rhode Island Senate meets at the Rhode Island State Capitol in Providence. Like other upper houses of state and territorial legislatures and the federal U. S. Senate, the Senate can confirm or reject gubernatorial appointments to executive departments and boards and Justices to the Rhode Island Judiciary; the President of the Senate presides over the body, appointing members to all of the Senate's committees and joint committees, may create other committees and subcommittees if desired. Unlike most other states, the Lieutenant Governor of Rhode Island does not preside over the Senate, is instead active in other areas such as state commissions on health and businesses.
In the Senate President's absence, the President Pro Tempore presides. The current President of the Senate is Democrat Dominick J. Ruggerio of District 4; the current Senate Majority Leader is Michael McCaffrey of District 4. The Senate Minority Leader is Dennis Algiere of District 38. Dominick J. Ruggerio - President of the Senate Harold Metts – President Pro Tempore Michael McCaffrey – Majority Leader Maryellen Goodwin – Majority Whip Ryan Pearson – Senior Deputy Majority Leader Gayle Goldin – Deputy Majority Whip Dennis Algiere – Minority Leader Elaine Morgan - Minority Whip Thomas Paolino - Deputy Minority Leader William Conley, Jr. – Committee on Finance Frank A. Ciccone – Committee on Labor Frank Lombardi – Committee on Rules and Government Oversight Walter Felag – Committee on Special Legislation & Veterans' Affairs Hanna Gallo – Committee on Education Erin Lynch Prata – Committee on the Judiciary Joshua Miller – Committee on Health & Human Services V. Susan Sosnowski – Committee on the Environment & Agriculture Frank Lombardo – Committee on Housing & Municipal Government Roger Picard – Committee on Commerce 2019-2021 Legislative Session Stephen S. Iannazzi - Chief of Staff to the President Kristen M. Silvia – Deputy Chief of Staff / Director of Legislation Kate Bramson – Director of Policy Richard Shahagian – Chief Legal Counsel Jacob Bissaillon – Special Assistant to the Majority Leader Patricia McNeilly – Chief of Staff to the Minority Leader Stephen Whitney – Senate Fiscal Advisor Greg Pare – Director of Communications John S. Baxter, Jr.
– Director of Constituent Services Rhode Island State Capitol Rhode Island General Assembly Rhode Island House of Representatives Rhode Island District Maps
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. Tracing its heritage back to Thomas Jefferson and James Madison's Democratic-Republican Party, the modern-day Democratic Party was founded around 1828 by supporters of Andrew Jackson, making it the world's oldest active political party; the Democrats' dominant worldview was once social conservatism and economic liberalism, while populism was its leading characteristic in the rural South. In 1912, Theodore Roosevelt ran as a third-party candidate in the Progressive Party, beginning a switch of political platforms between the Democratic and Republican Party over the coming decades, leading to Woodrow Wilson being elected as the first fiscally progressive Democrat. Since Franklin D. Roosevelt and his New Deal coalition in the 1930s, the Democratic Party has promoted a social liberal platform, supporting social justice. Well into the 20th century, the party had conservative pro-business and Southern conservative-populist anti-business wings.
The New Deal Coalition of 1932–1964 attracted strong support from voters of recent European extraction—many of whom were Catholics based in the cities. After Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal of the 1930s, the pro-business wing withered outside the South. After the racial turmoil of the 1960s, most Southern whites and many Northern Catholics moved into the Republican Party at the presidential level; the once-powerful labor union element became less supportive after the 1970s. White Evangelicals and Southerners became Republican at the state and local level since the 1990s. People living in metropolitan areas, women and gender minorities, college graduates, racial and ethnic minorities in the United States, such as Jewish Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans, Arab Americans and African Americans, tend to support the Democratic Party much more than they support the rival Republican Party; the Democratic Party's philosophy of modern liberalism advocates social and economic equality, along with the welfare state.
It seeks to provide government regulation in the economy. These interventions, such as the introduction of social programs, support for labor unions, affordable college tuitions, moves toward universal health care and equal opportunity, consumer protection and environmental protection form the core of the party's economic policy. Fifteen Democrats have served as President of the United States; the first was President Andrew Jackson, the seventh president and served from 1829 to 1837. The most recent was President Barack Obama, the 44th president and held office from 2009 to 2017. Following the 2018 midterm elections, the Democrats held a majority in the House of Representatives, "trifectas" in 14 states, the mayoralty of numerous major American cities, such as Boston, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, Portland and Washington, D. C. Twenty-three state governors were Democrats, the Party was the minority party in the Senate and in most state legislatures; as of March 2019, four of the nine Justices of the Supreme Court had been appointed by Democratic presidents.
Democratic Party officials trace its origins to the inspiration of the Democratic-Republican Party, founded by Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and other influential opponents of the Federalists in 1792. That party inspired the Whigs and modern Republicans. Organizationally, the modern Democratic Party arose in the 1830s with the election of Andrew Jackson. Since the nomination of William Jennings Bryan in 1896, the party has positioned itself to the left of the Republican Party on economic issues, they have been more liberal on civil rights issues since 1948. On foreign policy, both parties have changed position several times; the Democratic Party evolved from the Jeffersonian Republican or Democratic-Republican Party organized by Jefferson and Madison in opposition to the Federalist Party of Alexander Hamilton and John Adams. The party favored republicanism; the Democratic-Republican Party came to power in the election of 1800. After the War of 1812, the Federalists disappeared and the only national political party left was the Democratic-Republicans.
The era of one-party rule in the United States, known as the Era of Good Feelings, lasted from 1816 until the early 1830s, when the Whig Party became a national political group to rival the Democratic-Republicans. However, the Democratic-Republican Party still had its own internal factions, they split over the choice of a successor to President James Monroe and the party faction that supported many of the old Jeffersonian principles, led by Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren, became the modern Democratic Party. As Norton explains the transformation in 1828: Jacksonians believed the people's will had prevailed. Through a lavishly financed coalition of state parties, political leaders, newspaper editors, a popular movement had elected the president; the Democrats became the nation's first well-organized national party and tight party organization became the hallmark of nineteenth-century American politics. Opposing factions led by Henry Clay helped form the Whig Party; the Democratic Party had a small yet decisive advantage over the Whigs until the 1850s, when the Whigs fell apart over the issue of slavery.
In 1854, angry with the Kansas–Nebraska Act, anti-slavery Dem
State legislature (United States)
A state legislature in the United States is the legislative body of any of the 50 U. S. states. The formal name varies from state to state. In 25 states, the legislature is called the Legislature, or the State Legislature, while in 19 states, the legislature is called the General Assembly. In Massachusetts and New Hampshire, the legislature is called the General Court, while North Dakota and Oregon designate the legislature the Legislative Assembly; every state except Nebraska has a bicameral legislature, meaning that the legislature consists of two separate legislative chambers or houses. In each case the smaller chamber is called the Senate and is referred to as the upper house; this chamber but not always, has the exclusive power to confirm appointments made by the governor and to try articles of impeachment. Members of the smaller chamber represent more citizens and serve for longer terms than members of the larger chamber four years. In 41 states, the larger chamber is called the House of Representatives.
Five states designate the larger chamber the Assembly and three states call it the House of Delegates. Members of the larger chamber serve for terms of two years; the larger chamber customarily has the exclusive power to initiate taxing legislation and articles of impeachment. Prior to United States Supreme Court decisions Reynolds v. Sims and Baker v. Carr in the 1960s, the basis of representation in most state legislatures was modeled on that of the U. S. Congress: the state senators represented geographical units while members of the larger chamber represented population. In 1964, the United States Supreme Court announced the one man, one vote standard and invalidated state legislative representation based on geography. Nebraska had a bicameral legislature like the other states, but the lower house was abolished following a referendum, effective with the 1936 elections; the remaining unicameral legislature is called the Nebraska Legislature, but its members continue to be called senators. As a legislative branch of government, a legislature performs state duties for a state in the same way that the United States Congress performs national duties at the national level.
The same system of checks and balances that exists at the Federal level exists between the state legislature, the state executive officer and the state judiciary, though the degree to which this is so varies from one state to the next. During a legislative session, the legislature considers matters introduced by its members or submitted by the governor. Businesses and other special interest organizations lobby the legislature to obtain beneficial legislation, defeat unfavorably perceived measures, or influence other legislative action. A legislature approves the state's operating and capital budgets, which may begin as a legislative proposal or a submission by the governor. Under the terms of Article V of the U. S. Constitution, state lawmakers retain the power to ratify Constitutional amendments which have been proposed by both houses of Congress and they retain the ability to call for a national convention to propose amendments to the U. S. Constitution. After the convention has concluded its business 75% of the states will be required to ratify what the convention has proposed.
Under Article II, state legislatures choose the manner of appointing the state's presidential electors. State legislatures appointed the U. S. Senators from their respective states until the ratification of the 17th Amendment in 1913 required the direct election of Senators by the state's voters; the legislative bodies and their committees use either Mason's Manual of Legislative Procedure or an amended form thereof. During official meetings, a professional parliamentarian is available to ensure that legislation and accompanying discussion proceed as orderly as possible without bias; the lawmaking process begins with the introduction of a bill in either the House of Representatives or the Senate. Bills may be introduced in either house, sometimes with the exception of bills increasing or decreasing revenue, which must originate in the House of Representatives; the order of business in each house provides a proper time for the introduction of bills. Bills are assigned consecutive numbers, given in the order of their introduction, to facilitate identification.
A bill cannot become enacted until it has been read on a certain number of days in each house. Upon introduction, a bill is read by its title only, constituting the first reading of the bill; because a bill is read by title only, it is important that the title give the members notice of the subject matter contained in the bill. As with other legislative bodies throughout the world, U. S. state legislatures operate through committees when considering proposed bills. Thus, committee action is the most important phase of the legislative process. Most bills cannot be enacted into law until it has been referred to, acted upon by, returned from, a standing committee in each house. Reference to committee follows the first reading of the bill; each committee is set up to consider bills relating to a particular subject. Standing committees are charged with the important responsibility of examining bills and recommending action to the Senate or House. On days when a legislature is not in session, the committees of each house meet and consider the bills that have been referred to them to decide if the assigned bills should be reported f
Rhode Island the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, is a state in the New England region of the United States. It is the smallest state in area, the seventh least populous, the second most densely populated, it has the longest official name of any state. Rhode Island is bordered by Connecticut to the west, Massachusetts to the north and east, the Atlantic Ocean to the south via Rhode Island Sound and Block Island Sound, it shares a small maritime border with New York. Providence is most populous city in Rhode Island. On May 4, 1776, the Colony of Rhode Island was the first of the Thirteen Colonies to renounce its allegiance to the British Crown, it was the fourth among the newly independent states to ratify the Articles of Confederation on February 9, 1778; the state boycotted the 1787 convention which drew up the United States Constitution and refused to ratify it. Rhode Island's official nickname is "The Ocean State", a reference to the large bays and inlets that amount to about 14 percent of its total area.
Despite its name, most of Rhode Island is located on the mainland of the United States. Its official name is State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, derived from the merger of four Colonial settlements; the settlements of Newport and Portsmouth were situated on what is called Aquidneck Island today, but it was called Rhode Island in Colonial times. Providence Plantation was the name of the colony founded by Roger Williams in the area now known as the city of Providence; this was adjoined by the settlement of Warwick. It is unclear how the island came to be named Rhode Island, but two historical events may have been of influence: Explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano noted the presence of an island near the mouth of Narragansett Bay in 1524 which he likened to the island of Rhodes. Subsequent European explorers were unable to identify the island that Verrazzano had named, but the Pilgrims who colonized the area assumed that it was this island. Adriaen Block passed by the island during his expeditions in the 1610s, he described it in a 1625 account of his travels as "an island of reddish appearance,", "een rodlich Eylande" in 17th-century Dutch, one popular notion is that this Dutch phrase might have influenced the name Rhode Island.
The earliest documented use of the name "Rhode Island" for Aquidneck was in 1637 by Roger Williams. The name was applied to the island in 1644 with these words: "Aquethneck shall be henceforth called the Isle of Rodes or Rhode-Island." The name "Isle of Rodes" is used in a legal document as late as 1646. Dutch maps as early as 1659 call the island "Red Island". Roger Williams was a theologian, forced out of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, seeking religious and political tolerance, he and others founded Providence Plantation as a free proprietary colony. "Providence" referred to the concept of divine providence, "plantation" was an English term for a colony. "State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations" is the longest official name of any state in the Union. In recent years, the word plantation in the state's name became a contested issue, the Rhode Island General Assembly voted on June 25, 2009 to hold a general referendum determining whether "and Providence Plantations" would be dropped from the official name.
Advocates for excising plantation claimed that the word symbolized an alleged legacy of disenfranchisement for many Rhode Islanders, as well as the proliferation of slavery in the colonies and in the post-colonial United States. Rhode Island abolished slavery in 1652, but the law was not enforced and, by the early 18th century, it was "the epicenter of the North American slave trade", according to the Brown Daily Herald. Advocates for retaining the name argued that plantation was an archaic synonym for colony and bore no relation to slavery; the referendum election was held on November 2, 2010, the people voted overwhelmingly to retain the entire original name. In 1636, Roger Williams was banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony for his religious views, he settled at the top of Narragansett Bay on land sold or given to him by Narragansett sachem Canonicus, he named the site Providence Plantations, "having a sense of God's merciful providence unto me in my distress", it became a place of religious freedom where all were welcome.
In 1638, Anne Hutchinson, William Coddington, John Clarke, Philip Sherman, other religious dissenters settled on Aquidneck Island, purchased from the local tribes who called it Pocasset. This settlement was governed by the Portsmouth Compact; the southern part of the island became the separate settlement of Newport after disagreements among the founders. Samuel Gorton purchased lands at Shawomet in 1642 from the Narragansetts, precipitating a dispute with the Massachusetts Bay Colony. In 1644, Providence and Newport united for their common independence as the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, governed by an elected council and "president". Gorton received a separate charter for his settlement in 1648 which he named Warwick after his patron. Brown University was founded in 1764 as the College in the English Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, it was one of nine Colonial colleges granted charters before the American Revolution, but was the first college in America to accept students regardless of religious affilia
Rhode Island General Assembly
The State of Rhode Island General Assembly is the state legislature of the U. S. state of Rhode Island. A bicameral body, it is composed of the lower Rhode Island House of Representatives with 75 representatives, the upper Rhode Island Senate with 38 senators. Members are elected in the general election preceding the beginning of the term or in special elections called to fill vacancies. There are no term limits for either chamber; the General Assembly meets at the Rhode Island State House on the border of Downtown and Smith Hill in Providence. Smith Hill is sometimes used as a metonym for the Rhode Island General Assembly. On 12 June 1775, the Rhode Island General Assembly, meeting at East Greenwich, passed a resolution, which created the first formal, governmentally authorized navy in the Western Hemisphere: "It is voted and resolved, that the committee of safety be, they are hereby, directed to charter two suitable vessels, for the use of the colony, fit out the same in the best manner, to protect the trade of this colony...
"That the largest of the said vessels be manned with eighty men, exclusive of officers. "That the small vessel be manned with a number not exceeding thirty men. "That the whole be included in the number of fifteen hundred men, ordered to be raised in this colony... "That they receive the same bounty and pay as the land forces..." The Rhode Island General Assembly was one of the thirteen colonial legislatures that rejected British rule in the American War of Independence. The General Assembly was the first legislative body during the war to consider independence from Great Britain. On May 4, 1776, five months before the Continental Congress formally adopted the United States Declaration of Independence, Rhode Island became the first colony of what would soon be the future United States to leave the British Empire. William Ellery and the first chancellor of Brown University Stephen Hopkins were signatories to the Declaration of Independence for Rhode Island. A decisive march ending with the defeat of British forces commanded by Charles Cornwallis began in Newport, Rhode Island under the command of French forces sent by King Louis XVI and led by the Comte de Rochambeau.
The American forces in the march were jointly led by General George Washington. The march proceeded through Providence, Rhode Island and ended with the defeat of British forces following the Siege of Yorktown at Yorktown and the naval Battle of the Chesapeake. Nathanael Greene was a member along with Christopher Greene. Over a decade after the war, the General Assembly led by the Country Party pushed aside calls to join the newly formed federal government, citing its demands that a Bill of Rights should be included in the new federal U. S. Constitution and its opposition to slavery. With a Bill of Rights under consideration and with an ultimatum from the new federal government of the United States that it would begin to impose export taxes on Rhode Island goods if it did not join the Union, the General Assembly relented. On May 29, 1790, Rhode Island became the last of the Thirteen Colonies to sign the U. S. Constitution, becoming the thirteenth U. S. state. From 1663 until 1842, Rhode Island's governing state constitution was its original colonial charter granted by King Charles II of England, a political anomaly considering that while most states during the War of Independence and afterwards wrote scores of new constitutions with their newly found independence in mind, Rhode Island instead continued with a document stamped by an English king.
Nearly seventy years after U. S. independence, Rhode Island continued to operate with the 1663 Charter, leaving it after 1818 the only state whose official legal document was passed by a foreign monarch. While the 1663 Charter was democratic considering its time period, rising national demands for voting suffrage in response to the Industrial Revolution put strains on the colonial document. By the early 1830s, only 40% of the state's white males could vote, one of the lowest white male voting franchise percentages in the entire United States. For its part, the General Assembly proved to be an obstacle for change, not eager to see its traditional wealthy voting base shrink. Constitutional reform came to a head in 1841 when supporters of universal suffrage led by Thomas Wilson Dorr, dissatisfied with the conservative General Assembly and the state's conservative governor, Samuel Ward King, held the extralegal People's Convention, calling on Rhode Islanders to debate a new liberal constitution.
At the same time, the General Assembly began its own constitution convention dubbed the Freeman's Convention, making some democratic concessions to Dorr supporters, while keeping other aspects of the 1663 Charter intact. Elections in late 1841 and early 1842 led to both sides claiming to be the legitimate state government, each with their own respective constitutions in hand. In the days following the confusing and contentious 1842 gubernatorial and state legislature elections, Governor King declared martial law. Liberal Dorr supporters took up arms to begin the Dorr Rebellion; the short-lived rebellion proved unsuccessful in overthrowing Governor King and the General Assembly. The Freeman's Constitution was debated upon by the legislature and passed by the electorate. Although not as liberal as the People's document, the 1843 Freeman's Constitution did increase male suffrage in Rhode Island, including ending the racial requirement. Further revisions in the 1843 document were made by the General Assembly and passed by the elect