A Year from Now, Will Rhode Islanders Vote Yes on State Name Change?

So the RI General Assembly has passed a law calling for a 2010 referendum on a state name change, dropping "plantations" from the official name. It will be interesting to see what the vote result will be. Rhode Islanders are a traditional lot and aren't that especially eager to embrace change - if they did we wouldn't still have a Democratic controlled legislature despite its obvious failings. I may be proved wrong come next November, but I think most Rhode Islanders will reject the revisionism that's at the heart of the name change and, in a related way, the assaults on Christopher Columbus and now Roger Williams.

Revisionism may be close to the bleeding heart strings of liberals, academics, and affected minorities (understandably for them) but not to the state's established rank and file. Of course, as the state's demographic base changes issues like these have greater impact than they would have had 20 years ago, so anything's possible - if the newer arrivals actually get out and vote.


  1. I have to agree with you on this and I am a moderate who is a lefty on certain issues, like gay rights. All my Birkenstock-wearing friends keep raising the racist context of "plantations." They just don't get it, no matter how many times you tell them that the word had a different meaning when King Charles granted Roger Williams a charter to form the colony. And, yes, Rhode Islanders are traditionalists, as you say. I would say "provincial." The state's name will stand.

  2. I'm all for changing the name......but we can't stop there. We'll have to change the name of Providence, any street named after a saint,(separation of Church and State), any place named after Colombus, Roger Williams, the Brown family or any other entity that has offended someone. Since part of our state was named after the Isle of Rhodes in Greece, the "Rhode" part should be changed so as not to offend any Armenians living here in the state. I could go on and on.....but will close here. Thank God our General Assembly is focusing on the real issues confronting us!

  3. John,

    I may be considered a "new arrival" - born and raised in a different country, but living in Rhode Island and Providence Plantations for quite a while.
    I will vote "NO" on the name change - purely because there is no logical reason to change the name. The emotional reasons pro and con are just that; emotional reasons. And although you are more likely to see me side with the nostalgia group than you are with the pc revisionists, I can't understand why spend the effort and money to fix something that "ain't broke".
    I'm curious to find out if any of the proponents for this change have researched what the impact of this silly bill is not only in view of the costs associated with modifying forms, signs, etc, but also what other critical opportunities we are missing out on by wasting time in such frivolous matters.

    West Greenwich, RI&PP


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