Sunday, July 04, 2010

Stephen Hopkins ~ Founder and Patriot

Stephen Hopkins
1707 - 1785

Representative of Rhode Island to the Continental Congress
Signer of the Declaration of Independence

Stephen Hopkins, like so many of the founders, was a self-educated man who served his community and his nation in any way possible. He served in many positions locally, in the Rhode Island Colonial Assemby, was elected as the Governor of Rhode Island nine times, was the first Chancellor of the College in the English Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations (now known as Brown University), a member of the Continental Congress and the person who put together the first American Navy.

He was a early critic of Britian and advocate for Independence. He freed his slaves and tried to prohibit slavery from the colonies. In 1774, he introduced a bill that prohibited the importation of slaves into the colony of Rhode Island, and this became one of the first anti-slavery laws in the new United States.

A sufferer of cerebral palsey, his signature appeared trembling when he signed the Declaration of Independence. "My hand trembles, my heart does not," he said at the signing.

Stephen Hopkins House

His home in Providence, Rhode Island still stands and is on the National Register of Historic Places and is owned by the The National Society of the Colonial Dames of America.

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