The Country Party was a political party in Rhode Island in the Confederation and early Federal periods, from about March 1781 until the death in office of its leader, Governor Arthur Fenner, in October 1805. At its peak of influence, it controlled the Rhode Island General Assembly and dominated state politics from 1785 to 1790. A stridently Anti-Federalist party, it was instrumental in resisting ratification of the Constitution and was the organized vehicle for political expression of popular views that led to Rhode Island both disrupting consensus among states under the Articles of Confederation and being the last of the original 13 states to ratify the Constitution.

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  • The Country Party was a political party in Rhode Island in the Confederation and early Federal periods, from about March 1781 until the death in office of its leader, Governor Arthur Fenner, in October 1805. At its peak of influence, it controlled the Rhode Island General Assembly and dominated state politics from 1785 to 1790. A stridently Anti-Federalist party, it was instrumental in resisting ratification of the Constitution and was the organized vehicle for political expression of popular views that led to Rhode Island both disrupting consensus among states under the Articles of Confederation and being the last of the original 13 states to ratify the Constitution. Rhode Island politics of the period was marked by exceptional favor for state independence. It was the first of the thirteen colonies to pass legislation declaring independence, doing so prior to the United States Declaration of Independence, and it was the last of the original 13 states to ratify the U.S. Constitution. The Constitution replaced the Articles of Confederation, creating a stronger national government than under the Articles. The Country Party opposed the Constitution largely because of civil liberties concerns driving distrust of distant and large government; opposition to slavery in which the mercantile economy, but not the rural economy, of Rhode Island was invested; and disagreements about projected monetary policy, specifically a desire to maintain state-issued paper currency as legal tender at face value. Some of these views found mainstream expression in the Bill of Rights, while others were addressed by other compromises or in some cases suppressed. Under Country Party leadership, Rhode Island carried opposition well beyond insisting on a Bill of Rights, and had to be prodded into the new Union. (en)
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  • The Country Party was a political party in Rhode Island in the Confederation and early Federal periods, from about March 1781 until the death in office of its leader, Governor Arthur Fenner, in October 1805. At its peak of influence, it controlled the Rhode Island General Assembly and dominated state politics from 1785 to 1790. A stridently Anti-Federalist party, it was instrumental in resisting ratification of the Constitution and was the organized vehicle for political expression of popular views that led to Rhode Island both disrupting consensus among states under the Articles of Confederation and being the last of the original 13 states to ratify the Constitution. (en)
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  • Country Party (Rhode Island) (en)
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  • Country Party (en)
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