The Republic of Vermont

The Constitution of the state of Vermont.On July 2, 1777, as the British army advanced down the Champlain Valley, delegates met in Windsor and approved the constitution creating the republic of Vermont.

Delegates elected Thomas Chittenden, Nathan Clark, Jonas and Joseph Fay, Moses Robinson, Ira and Heman Allen, and Matthew Lyon to the Council of Safety, the interim government. These men faced the daunting task of putting together a government in the middle of a war.

Only five days after the constitution was approved, Americans were defeated at the Battle of Hubbardton after abandoning Fort Ticonderoga and Mt. Independence. Terrified settlers fled their homes on the western side of the state. Urgent pleas were sent to Massachusetts and New Hampshire for reinforcements, local militias were called into service, and the American army regrouped. The British were defeated just outside of Bennington on August 16, 1777.

At the same time, the Council had to contend with the politicking of New York’s delegation in the Continental Congress. New York still insisted upon its land claims and passed resolutions trying to stop the formation of the new state. Writing a rebuttal, Ira Allen linked New York’s opposition to its leaders’ ties with the British, hoping to win votes for the new state. Meanwhile, on March 3, 1778, elections were held for representatives to Vermont’s General Assembly, which convened for the first time on March 12, 1778.

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