On this day in 1777, Vermont became the first US territory to more or less ban slavery. At the same convention, it adopted universal adult male suffrage and dictated support for public schools. I still find it hard to think that Vermont was not one of the original 13 colonies. But it wasn’t. Apparently, in 1764, King George III set up boundaries between New York and New Hampshire. This left the gaping hole that became Vermont. In order to protect what they saw as encroachment from New York, people from New Hampshire settled in Vermont and eventually a state was born.
One interesting thing about this is that reading about native tribes at the time of the first western contact, I hear the same kinds of things. Different groups of humans are always trying to take others’ lands and protect their own. The fact that the natives acted this way is often used as a justification for treating them like savages. But there is literally no difference. And that’s as true today as it ever has been.
Vermont went on to be the 14th United State — on 4 March 1791. But this history explains a few things about modern Vermont. One is that Vermont has the greatest gun ownership of any state in the northeast. The relatively late frontier formation of the state goes along with that. The other thing is that Vermont is a very liberal state. It seemed to get an early start with regard to that.
Happy anniversary Vermont’s second convention. Also: Bernie Sanders 2016!