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Rhode Island: A History (States and the Nation) Paperback – June 17, 1986
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The author demonstrated detailed knowledge of the religious happenings of the state. He gave a lot of coverage to the life and activities of Roger Williams. Rhode Island residents were known for being non-conformists and independent minded people. The state was derisively referred to as "Rogue's Island" by puritanical leaders from neighboring Massachusetts.
The author gave detailed coverage of "Dorr's War," a unique time in Rhode Island history where a rival legislature formed in the state between 1842 and 1844. There were not a lot of actual fatalities, but some blood was shed in sporadic skirmishes. This was a fascinating era in Rhode Island history.
McLoughlin covered the Gilded Age era and the prominence of pseudo-aristocratic families like the Browns. The state was more conservative and business-oriented in the late 1800's and early 1900's. The author described how the state transformed into a bastion of Democratic politics. T.F. Green was an enthusiastic supporter of the New Deal. Claiborne Pell was instrumental in educational reforms. John O. Pastore became a Great Society liberal icon.
This is a well-written and informative book. The book is a bit dated and only covers events into the late 1970's and early 1980's. Still, the book is an essential resource for those who are interested in the key events in Rhode Island history. This is an outstanding book writtten with passion and precision from a historical master.
They thought it was very informative and were happy to have it.
I knew William G. McLoughlin many years ago. I never perused his book on the history of Rhode Island until recently.
In the midst of the Great Recession, Rhode Island asked its citizens to suggest ideas for the improvement of its economy with special relevance to what had been done in the past. So I wrote a letter to the editor of The Providence Journal, as my contribution. I give it as follows.
Letter / Editor
The Renovation of Rhode Island
Regarding the article titled “Business community hears upbeat message of opportunity” that appeared in the Journal issue of 02-09-2013: Do you think somebody in the state could actually do real things other than plan and strategize in the abstract?
The “Reinvent RI” boosters have advised that improvement should focus on what is amenable to the history and culture of the state.
However, there is difficulty in viewing the industry of the past in RI. (I use the word “industry” in its widest sense, as trade or manufacture in general – the main economic activities of a region.) The problem is, what was it?
As I see it– In Colonial times, RI was part of the Triangular Trade of Rum-Molasses-Slaves. That industry lasted until early Post-Revolutionary times. I doubt that we would want to return to it.
Then Sam Slater stole the technology of textile manufacture from his British employers in the 19th century, in the Gilded Age, and brought it to Pawtucket, RI. The textile industry served RI well and lasted until the middle of the 20th century, for about 125 years.Read more ›