Governor Ratcliffe is a member of the Organization and the main villain in Pocahontas.
Like all Disney villains, Ratcliffe is incredibly power hungry. He is unbelievably greedy, as evidenced by his insatiable craving for gold, which would make him a very wealthy man. He is also highly xenophobic (even for the period in which he lives), ruthless and incredibly manipulative. While he exudes great confidence and gives the impression of being rather vain, Ratcliffe in fact seems to take a rather dim view of himself, admitting in a rather sad tone of voice that he has never been a popular man. This, in addition to the fact that his fellow members of the court consider him a "pathetic social climber" make him quite a sympathetic character in spite of his villainy. His mission to colonise the Native-Americans is his last chance to make a name for himself. Ratcliffe's lack of self-esteem stands in contrast to the egomania of most Disney villains, making him somewhat unique. Despite his self confessed lack of popularity, Ratcliffe seems quite charismatic and commands the respect of his troops until the end of the film.
Ratcliffe leads an expedition to Virginia to find gold and other riches (which he wants to keep for himself). He fails to tell any of the other crew of his real reason of going to Virginia and recites the "Adventure of our lives" and "Freedom" speech to cover it. When they see land, Ratcliff meets with John Smith, whom the crew admire, about his plan on dealing with the "savages" and "filthy little heathens" (what he calls the Native Americans and Smith assures his success and the meetings through. Ratcliffe arrives on the Shore of Virginia shortly after Smith and Thomas, a new recruit, then takes some land in the name of King James and calls it Jamestown.
After Smith leaves to search for the Indians, Ratcliff orders men to build a fort and clear the ship while he has the rest men dig for gold. When John Smith returns Ratcliffe orders him to prepare the men for battle so they can destroy the Indians and take the gold. But Smith tells Ratcliffe that there is no gold and that they don't to find the Indians because he met one of them and they can help them by showing them their land but Ratcliffe doesn't believe it and says that the land belongs to him and that he says Anyone who so much looks at an Indian without killing him on sight will be tried for treason and hanged! When he sees John Smith running off somewhere that night, he sends Thomas to follow him, hoping the "poor excuse for a soldier" will be able to prove his worth. He later overhears the men talking about Smith's capture (Smith had been attacked by a warrior named Kocoum, whom Thomas had promptly shot dead during the fight, but had been ordered to flee the scene for Smith to take the blame) and wages war against the Indians to rescue Smith and take their gold for himself (although he merely tells his men it is a rescue mission to ensure their support). After the two sides march their way to one another, they are stopped abruptly by Pocahontas who tells everyone that they were led onto the path of hatred. All the men on both sides are deeply touched by the woman's love and wisdom, and lower their weapons. The would-be combatants now make it clear that the battle will not occur.
Ratcliff is the only one not moved by this, and orders his men to open fire anyway, but they refuse. Outraged, Ratcliff grabs the gun of one of his men and prepares to shoot Powhatan himself. John Smith jumps in the way and takes the bullet (although not fatally). Finally seeing Ratcliffe for the corrupt, greedy monster that he truly was all along, Thomas and the other settlers rebel, bounding and gagging him and sending him back to England to await punishment for his crimes.
Ratcliffe, however, returns in the sequel Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World. Apparently, he has fabricated his own version of the events in Jamestown to implicate John Smith as the traitor, and despite the impossibility of his honesty, he is easily believed by King James (mostly due to their close, personal friendship) and sent to capture Smith for questioning along with some soldiers. In the ensuing fray, Ratcliffe tells Smith "Pity. I so would have preferred to see you in hang", and knocks Smith off a building to his apparent death, and tells James that he had tried to stop Smith from committing suicide.
When John Rolfe, who had been sent to Jamestown to bring back Powhatan for questioning, returns with Pocahontas, Ratcliffe immediately plots to get rid of her, convincing James to invite Pocahontas to the Hunt Ball, where he has planned a bear baiting with a jester since he knows Pocahontas's savage instincts. Pocahontas, at first, impresses the King with her manners taught by Rolfe, but naturally becomes outraged at the bear baiting, especially when the snobbish aristocrats attending do nothing but laugh at the creature's torture, and openly insults Ratcliffe and James, calling them savages. Ratcliffe convinces James to imprison her and sentence her to death, and is allowed to take his armada to Jamestown for war with the Powhatans. However, Ratcliffe's lies are finally exposed when John Smith, who survived his ordeal with Ratcliffe, aids Rolfe in breaking Pocahontas out of prison and shows himself in the King's court. Realizing that he has been fooled, James orders Ratcliffe to be stopped.
In the subsequent battle, Ratcliffe attempted to end Pocahontas's life until Smith intervenes and he duels Smith and almost kills Smith for real, but is subdued by Rolfe and thrown overboard. Before he falls into the ocean, Smith says to Ratcliffe the same thing Ratcliffe said to him: "Pity. I so would have preferred to see you hanged." Governor Ratcliffe makes it to shore where King James and his soldiers were waiting. When Ratcliffe tells King James that the "fugitives are getting away," King James quotes "No more lies" and has his soldiers arrest him. His sentence for high treason is currently unknown, though it is possible he could have been put in prison for life and/or executed.
Role in UltimaEdit
In Ultima, Ratcliffe was freed from prison by Hades, who recruited him to the Organization as a General in the English Armada Renmants. Within the Organization's ranks, he's more loyal to Judge Cluade Frollo than he is to Maleficent, believing that with Frollo's faction can he finally obtain that one chance he's been desiring to finally prove himself to the world that he's not just a pathetic social climber.
How's he gonna prove this? By having Dr. Facilier summon the soul of Kocuom, the indian who Thomas killed, corrupt the soul into becoming a Guadian Heartless, and use the ghost along with his newly enhanced swordsmanship skills to kill off Powhatan's tribe in large-scale massacres to collect enough souls for Lodo to use in his occult experiments. After Lodo found out about this...I think Lodo might be giving Ratcliffe that promotion to Harbinger after all.