Thomas Dorr – 1805-1854
A lawyer by profession, Dorr served in the Rhode Island legislature (from 1834) but failed to reform the conservative state constitution, which was essentially unchanged since Rhode Island had been established as a colony in 1663. In 1841, Dorr founded the People’s Party, which, acting on its own, called a convention, drafted and adopted a new constitution, and, on May 3, 1842, held elections that installed Dorr as governor. A small war broke out, and Dorr, tried for treason, was sentenced in 1844 to life imprisonment. He was released after serving a year.