The Vermont Constitution
How is the Vermont Constitution like the Declaration of Independence?
The people in the Grants were fighting against the Yorkers in the 1770s. At the same time, the thirteen colonies were fighting against England. The colonies wanted to become independent.
The colonists(people who live in a colony) complained that the government in England made decisions without asking them. The settlers felt the same way about New York’s government. New York was making decisions without asking the settlers. The colonies wrote the Declaration of Independence in 1776. A year later, Vermont declared its independence from New York!
On July 8, 1777, a group of delegates(people who represent a larger group) met in Windsor to sign the Constitution of Vermont. The Constitution said that Vermont was an independent state. Vermont was not part of New York or part of New Hampshire.
The Vermont Constitution first said what King George III did wrong. Many were the same as complaints in the Declaration of Independence. Next, the Vermont Constitution said what New York did wrong. “They have, and still continue, an unjust(unfair) claim to those lands” which the settlers bought from New Hampshire. But after Vermonters wrote their Constitution, Vermont was no longer part of New York.
The Vermont Constitution also established a government and laws for the state. The people would elect their government. Vermonters did not have to listen to King George III anymore. The Constitution said that the government had to pay people money if the state took their land away. And the Constitution limited slavery in Vermont. Since 1777, the Constitution has been changed a little. But the Constitution is still the basis for the Vermont government.
Thinking About History
Historians ask questions to think deeply about history.
How did the arguments between the Grants and the Yorkers influence the rights listed in the Vermont Constitution?
Should a colony or state be allowed to declare its independence? Why or why not?
Follow the links below to explore related topics.
Read the 1777 Vermont Constitution
Read the US Declaration of Independence
Watch the video Thomas Chittenden from This Place in History
Copy and paste this citation to show where you did your research.
Vermont Historical Society. "The Vermont Constitution." Vermont History Explorer. Accessed October 22, 2021. https://vermonthistoryexplorer.org/the-vermont-constitution