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Rhode Island. Governor (1647-)

 Organization

Dates

  • Existence: 1647-

Historical Note

Upon the founding of the colony the original settlements formed political compacts and establish rules of governance and conduct. While such agreements were suitable early on a more organized, centralized form of government became necessary as the colony expanded. In 1644, the first colonial charter uniting the several communities of Newport, Portsmouth, Providence, & Warwick was acquired from England. In 1647, colonial government was established and a General Assembly met to produce a code of laws and adopt a colonial seal. Within the acts and orders established was the appointment of a President of the colony, the predecessor to the office of the Governor along with assistants representing each of the towns. There continued to be a President of the colony until receipt of the second Royal Charter from King Charles II in 1663. The charter called for the leadership of the state to consist of a Governor, Deputy-Governor, and ten (10) assistants. Although this charter created the position of Governor the duties and powers of the office granted under the charter were limited. During the early years of the colony, the towns had much more power than the centralized government, and therefore the position of Governor was largely symbolic. The Governor held certain powers because of his position as commander in chief, but did not have the ability to control the direction of the colony as did the General Assembly. The General Assembly’s current website explains that under the charter there existed “a nearly powerless, elected governor”. The first iteration of the Rhode Island Constitution, ratified in 1842, continued to limit the power of the Governor and give to the General Assembly many of the powers designated to the executive branch in the federal government. The Governor, although the symbolic figurehead of the state, did not exercise any legislative powers under the concept of separation of powers until 2004. In 2004, voters approved a referendum calling for an amendment of the state Constitution, finally establishing a separation of powers within the state government. This amendment took some of the immense power of the General Assembly by giving the Governor the power to appoint the heads and members of many commissions and boards, and to appoint members of the judiciary. Other major change in the Office of the Governor occurred in 1994, when the term of General Officers went from two (2) years to four (4) years.

Found in 5 Collections and/or Records:

An Analysis of Social Data Affecting the Lives of Rhode Island Older Population, 1978

 Item — Folder: 1 An Analysis of Social Data Affecting the Lives of Rhode Island Older Population 1978
Identifier: 1636-1034

Annual Report on the Status of Compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act by the State of Rhode Island January 26, 1992 to January 26, 1993, 1993

 Item — Folder: 1. Annual Report on the Status of Compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act by the State of Rhode Island January 26, 1992 to January 26, 1993, 1993
Identifier: 1636-1120

Governor's Justice Commission annual report, 1977

 Item — Folder: Annual Report, 1977
Identifier: 1636-01
Scope and Contents Report describing the deficiancies in the State justice system and suggestions for improvement, structure of the Supervisory Board, subcommittees, District Councils and Municipal Planning Unit, Review Board, GJC staff, and task forces. Topics include issues with cruiser to cruiser communications in State police vehicles, funding, descriptions of justice workshops, and all action and corrections LEAA grants funded between 1969 and 1977.
Dates: 1977