What is the importance of Rhode Island during the colonial days?

Expert Answers
pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Rhode Island was best known in colonial days for the fact that it was home to religious dissidents.  Much later, just after the end of colonial times, it was famous again for refusing to send any delegates to the Constitutional Convention.

During the early colonial period, Rhode Island was founded by religious dissidents.  Its most famous founders were two people who had been expelled by the Puritans who ran Massachusetts Bay.  These were Roger Williams and Anne Hutchinson.  These two had been (separately) banished from Massachusetts for teaching ideas that were not in line with what the Puritans believed.  Some Puritans referred to the colony as “Rogue Island” because of the fact that so many dissenters lived there.

Later on, Rhode Island maintained its reputation for being somewhat iconoclastic when it refused to send delegates to the Constitutional Convention.  It took this action because it was opposed to the idea of a strong central government that might abuse the rights of the people.

Thus, Rhode Island was important as a haven for people who did not want to conform to the views of other colonies.

thedemon | Student

Rhode Island was the first colony to have a charter that stated that no one would be punished for their religious opinion.