Press Releases


Statement by Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea on Rhode Island Independence Day

"As we celebrate Rhode Island Independence Day today, we are reminded of our state's rich history and our longstanding commitment to personal freedom, self-rule and democracy. Let's honor that great legacy of civic participation by expanding opportunities for Rhode Islanders to participate in a secure, convenient way. Let's pass the Voting and Elections Modernization Act to allow online voter registration and expand early in-person voting."

239 years ago Rhode Island became the first of 13 colonies to declare its independence from English rule. By passing the "Act of Renunciation" on May 4, 1776, the General Assembly declared Rhode Island sovereign and independent of King George, III. Two months later, on July 4, the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence.

You can read the Act of Renunciation by visiting our website. The original hand-written document can also be seen at the Rhode Island State Archives, 337 Westminster Street, Providence. The Rhode Island State Archives is open to the public weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Free validated parking is available at the In-Town Parking lot on Snow Street.


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  • Department or agency: Office of the Secretary of State
  • Online:
  • Release date: 05-04-2015

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