A Tale of Two States

Quick Quiz: What were the first and last American states to ratify the Constitution?

Answer: Delaware and Rhode Island.
(Yeah, I didn't know either until I started doing research for my books.)

Right at Home in Rhode Island
Willing Love
While I was doing some general research for one of my first novels, I ran across and became fascinated in Rhode Island's general stubbornness. They didn't even send a delegate to the Constitutional Convention. By the time they voted to ratify by a narrow margin of 12 nays to 13 ayes in 1790, the Constitution was already a done deal.

However, we still shouldn't take their eventual acquiescence lightly.  Had they These United States. I suppose the little colony didn't look forward to forever fighting their larger neighbors for the right to exist. That said, the unanimity of ratification also spoke volumes across the Atlantic. For better or worse, these states were now united.
not ratified, they would have essentially remained another country in the midst of

Related Post: Recalcitrant Rhode Island Part 1 and Part 2

When I was looking for a setting for Willing Love, Rhode Island naturally sprang to mind. Prudence is definitely the most stubborn heroine I've written yet, and she felt right at home there.

Delaware Votes to Move On
The novel I'm currently working on is set in Wilmington, Delaware. My reasons for choosing Wilmington are far less thought-out. Someone mentioned it in passing, and I thought, "Hey, why not set my next novel there?" I also thought it would be kind of nice to give a hat tip to one of the smaller states. Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New York, etc. seem to get all the glory!

I've been working on this story for months, and the more research I do, the happier I am with the location. You see, it occurred to me that we tend to look back on the American Revolution as though everything was obvious. We ignore the fact that many colonists, even many of the founding fathers, did not actually want independence from England. And, despite all the attention our schoolbooks give to the Sons of Liberty and the horrors of tarring and feathering, a good many early Americans were not violent people.

I shudder when I think that had the right sentiments not prevailed we could have gone down the same path that the French eventually took in their Revolution. So, for this next novel, I decided to create a hero who is one of the rebels, yet his ultimate aim is to keep violence from breaking out.
Lafayette wounded in the Battle of Brandywine.
(Lafayette was a secondary character
in Le Chevalier.)

Although I didn't know it when I chose Delaware, it turns out the small state is one of the more moderate states. The people there weren't necessarily sheep, but nor were they activists, and only one Revolutionary battle was fought in Delaware. (Although many were fought in nearby Pennsylvania including one very notable one at Brandywine.)
I could be wrong, but it seems to me this moderate attitude may be one of the reasons Delaware was the first to ratify. They just wanted everyone to get along.

Historians, amateur and otherwise, please feel free to correct my assumptions. I would love to get your take. As for the rest of you...Happy reading!


MJ

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