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Vermont in 1777


Benedict Arnold
Benedict Arnold

When the American Revolution broke out in 1775, the Green Mountain Boys suspended their struggles with New York to fight against British rule. Under the joint command of militia leader Benedict Arnold and Ethan Allen, they attacked the British, capturing Fort Ticonderoga and Crown Point. The British captured Ethan Allen later that year, when he made an ill-considered attack on Montréal. In 1777 the Americans abandoned Ticonderoga to British troops under General John Burgoyne. But on August 16, 1777, Vermont and New Hampshire militiamen, led by General John Stark, decisively defeated a British contingent in the Battle of Bennington. This victory delayed and weakened the British force, which surrendered at Saratoga, New York, two months later.

On January 15, 1777, Ira Allen and representatives of towns in the New Hampshire Grants declared their independence from Great Britain and established an independent republic. They first called it New Connecticut, then Vermont. At a convention held July 2 to 8, Vermont adopted a liberal constitution, which was the first in America to prohibit slavery. It also gave all adult males, not just those who owned property, the right to vote. A council of safety was appointed to administer the republic until elections were held. Thomas Chittenden became the first governor in 1778. Throughout the 1780s Vermont remained independent, devising various schemes to force New York and New Hampshire to agree to allow Vermont to join the Union.

Vermont coined its own money, established a government structure, announced plans to annex border towns in New Hampshire and New York, and considered the possibility of uniting with Canada. However, after the Constitution of the United States was adopted in 1789, the Congress of the United States looked more favorably on admitting Vermont. In 1790 New York agreed to give up its claims in Vermont in exchange for compensation of $30,000. On March 4, 1791, Vermont became the 14th state. During the period of independence and early statehood, Vermont’s legislature met in communities east and west of the Green Mountains in alternate years until Montpelier was agreed upon as the permanent state capital in 1805. The first statehouse was built in 1808. "Vermont" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia.

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