Q109. "Why did Rhode Island not send delegates to
the Constitutional Convention?"
A. Rhode Island was afraid that any new system proposed by the convention
would be detrimental to its economy. Rhode Island issued lots of paper money,
and one of the aims of the convention, in the opinion of Rhode Islanders, was to
nationalize the currency (which, in fact, happened). Rhode Islanders were also
famous for (perhaps infamous for) their sense of independence and suspicious of
the calls for a stronger national government. The state was not looked upon
favorably by others, often being referred to as Rogue Island.
Despite her failure to send delegates, it was assumed that Rhode Island
would relent and ratify the Constitution, and a copy of the finished document
was forwarded to the state as it was to every state. Initially, Rhode Island
rejected the Constitution, but the reality of trying to go it alone as a
sovereign nation, surrounded by a large and populous United States, finally
convinced Rhode Island to ratify. The final vote was
close, 34 in favor, 32 opposed.