Three hundred and fifty years ago, Rhode Island was formed with a unique charter that spelled out more rights than any other document of its kind. The charter was so forward-thinking that it was used in place of a state constitution until 1842. After the Dorr Rebellion of 1842, voting rights were extended to all males of age, and Thomas Howland held political office in the City of Providence, even as the United States refused to acknowledge his citizenship by granting him a passport.

This gallery provides a preview of those and other objects in the RIHS Collection. You can read more about the objects, and stories on the theme of “Faith & Freedom,” here.

The Faith and Freedom online exhibit is made possible through major funding support from the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, an independent state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.