American Portraits

Thomas Wilson Dorr: The Working Class Right to Vote

In this lesson, students will learn how Thomas Wilson Dorr led an effort to expand the right to vote in Rhode Island, and evaluate the methods he used. They will use this example to be purposeful in their own lives.

Founding Principles

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Civil Discourse

Reasoned and respectful sharing of ideas between individuals is the primary way people influence change in society/government, and is essential to maintain self-government.

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Consent of the Governed

The government's power is only justified when its power comes from the will or approval of the people.

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Equality

Every individual is equal to every other person in regards to natural rights and treatment before the law.

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Freedom of Speech

The freedom to express one's opinions without interference from the the government is critical to the maintenance of liberty within a free society.

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Majority Rule / Minority Rights

Laws may be made with the consent of the majority but only to the point where they do not infringe on the inalienable rights of the minority.

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Representative / Republican Government

Form of government in which the people are sovereign (the ultimate source of power) and authorize representatives to make and carry out laws.

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