Dorr, Thomas

Dorr, Thomas (Wilson)

(1805–54) lawyer, political reformer; born in Providence, R.I. Admitted to the bar in 1827, he was elected to the Rhode Island assembly in 1834. Taking the lead in efforts to establish a state constitution that would abolish such anti-democratic practices as the requirement that only adult males who owned a fair amount of land could vote, he formed a "People's Party" that adopted a constitution. He then got himself elected governor (1842), and in the ensuing "rebellion" against the established government, a minor civil war broke out in Rhode Island. Arrested and charged with treason, he was sentenced to life imprisonment (1844) but was released in 1845. He retired in poor health but a new constitution at least embodied some of his goals.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
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Groomsmen were Ryan Davidson Sawyer, Michael Irving Dorr, Thomas Mason Sanders, and Michael Matthew Sanders.