Rhode Island and the U. S. Constitution


The documents on display in this online collection help tell the story of Rhode Island's unique role in the drafting and ratification of the U.S. Constitution. Rhode Island was the only state not to send delegates to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in May of 1787. When asked to hold a state convention to ratify the Constitution, the Rhode Island General Assembly chose to put the ratification question to a popular vote. On March 24, 1788, Rhode Island's "freemen" cast their ballots in the only state-wide popular vote held on the Constitution. The result of that elections are available in this collection as are the Journals from the Conventions of March and May 1790. Collectively, these documents showcase the dynamic history of Rhode Island's contribution.

A true copy of the original duly examined: Witness. Henry Ward, Secretary [R.I.]

The Bill of Rights, twelve articles of amendment to the to the United States Constitution proposed in 1789, ten of which, became part of the United States Constitution in 1791.

List of delegates from the May 1790 Convention held at the Newport Colony House.

Vote of Ratification of Amendments to the U.S. Constitution by the Rhode Island House of Representatives.