The establishment of constitutional government in early Vermont



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It was the purpose thesis to investigate the methods employed by the Vermont area land speculators in their successful attempt to establish Vermont as a separate state. Special consideration has been given to (1) the separatist attempt to build support in the divided sections of eastern and western Vermont and the reasons for its success or failure in these areas; (2) the separatists attempt to gain recognition from the Continental Congress; and (3) the Vermont Constitution of 1777 which was extremely important in gaining the support of the people for separation. Methods: The methods used to obtain data for this thesis err (1) personal research in original materials at the University of Vermont Library and the Vermont Historical Society; (2) the examination of published primary material from the above named facilities and other source; and (3) the examination of published secondary materials obtained from numerous sources. Findings: From the evidence presented in this thesis the following conclusions appear in order: 1. The land speculators found an existing base of power in western Vermont where New York government had already been repudiated. 2. Eastern Vermont was nominally under New York control until it became evident through its new constitution that New York intended to perpetuate its pre-war social, political, and economic institutions. 4. The people in eastern Vermont were initially fearful of military isolation from the remainder of the states if they endorsed the separatist movement. 5. The Vermont Constitution of 1777, due to its very pronounced liberal nature, was extremely popular with the Vermonters. Given favorable circumstances for its implementation, the separatist constitution was readily accepted in lieu of the more conservative New York constitution. 6. There was very definite opposition to the perpetuation of pre-war New York institutions throughout Vermont indication dissatisfaction with New York’s aristocracy-dominated society and government.



Vermont History, land speculators, separatist, influence of New York