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.
July 4, 1788 – In Providence the local Federalists have set up a giant barbecue to celebrate both the Independence Day holiday and to read aloud the proposed Constitution. There is little hope that Rhode Island will quickly ratify the Constitution, in fact, as of today, there hasn’t been any move to even call for a convention to consider the document.
The anti-Federalists in Rhode Island aren’t just opposed to the Constitution. They oppose virtually every idea to strengthen the Union. For the past few years they have intentionally/unintentionally sabotaged the Articles of Confederation by using the power of the veto to stop any forward progress. It is in Rhode Island where the rampant use of State issued paper money has resulted in chaos and financial ruin to States and individuals trying to do business with Rhode Islanders
Now, as the few Federalists in Rhode Island gather to celebrate, William West, leader of the Country Party, decides to take action and make sure that the Providence Federalists understand that Rhode Island has no intention of ratifying the Constitution. He means to shut down their celebration and end once and for all the consideration of the Constitution in the Rhode Island…