The 1777 Vermont Constitution

1777 Vermont ConstitutionVermont’s constitution was written to legitimize the state in the eyes of the people of the Grants and the Continental Congress. The writers gave as their reason for creating the new state the premise that governments were created to provide for the security, support, and protection of the community and the natural rights of individuals. They believed the British king and New York authorities had failed them and by common consent they could change their government. Therefore, they were declaring their independence and establishing the new state of Vermont.
The writers of Vermont’s constitution used the Pennsylvania constitution as a model, but they included some important changes. The Bill of Rights abolished slavery and gave voting privileges to all freemen. To this day, the state constitution remains the final reference for defining the legal balance between individual rights and those of Vermont’s communities.  

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