The Dorr Rebellion was a watershed event in Rhode Island history. Events began in 1841, when Providence native Thomas Wilson Dorr sought to expand the numbers of Rhode Islanders eligible to vote. At the time, with the Charter of 1663 still in force, less than fifty percent of white male Rhode Islanders were eligible to vote. Historian Marvin E. Gettleman, author of The Dorr Rebellion: A Study in American Radicalism (1973), wrote that "The most dramatic and bitter battle of the antebellum period took place in Rhode Island, where the movement for political reform took a radical and even revolutionary character."
The fall 2011 issue of American Ancestors magazine featured an article on the Dorr Rebellion: "Echoes from the Dorr Rebellion: the 1842 Aplin / Carpenter Correspondence," by John D. Tew. (NEHGS members can read the article online.)
I recently became aware of the Dorr Rebellion Project website, which is a terrific resource for anyone interested in the crisis. The website includes a nineteen-minute documentary, interviews with expert scholars, an image gallery, and links to relevant articles. Organizations and individuals involved with the project include Providence College; The John Hay Library, Brown University; The Rhode Island Historical Society; The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History; The Rhode Island School of Design; and Russell DeSimone.