Broadside: “A DORRITE FALSEHOOD NAILED TO THE COUNTER”, 1843
[Dorr Rebellion Broadside]. Alleges that Rhode Island owes $5000 for costs of the “Dorrite War” instead of the $500,000 as the Diorites claim; included certificates from H.G. Mumford, Commissary General, S. Ames, Quarter-Mater-General and Cyrus Butler and the firm of Brown & Ives. Butler, Cyrus, & Brown & Ives.
Printed in two columns divided by double lines; 9.” x 7.5” [Providence, R.I.: 1843]. Some toning; excellent condition.
The Dorr Rebellion (1841–1842) was a failed attempt to force broader democracy in the U.S. state of Rhode Island, where a small rural elite was in control of government. It was led by Thomas Wilson Dorr, who mobilized the disenfranchised to demand changes to the state's electoral rules. The state used as its constitution the 1663 colonial charter that required a man to own $134 in property to vote, and gave an equal weight in the Rhode Island General Assembly to all towns no matter what their population. The effect in the 1830s was that the rapidly growing industrial cities were far outnumbered in the legislature, to the annoyance of businessmen and industrialists. Furthermore, few immigrants or factory workers could vote, despite their growing numbers.
All other states in 1840 saw a huge surge in turnout, but nothing happened in Rhode Island. At first the middle classes (like Dorr himself—he was a Harvard man) took the lead. However the Charter government, controlled by rural elites, fought back hard. For six weeks in 1842 there were two rival governments. The Dorrites, led by self-proclaimed governor Dorr, pulled back from violence (after their cannon misfired). Only one person died: a bystander killed by accident.