Republic of New Connecticut
Republic of the Green Mountains
Freedom and Unity on Great Seal
Stella quarta decima on Vermont coinage
in English "the fourteenth star"
|Legislature||House of Representatives of the Freemen of Vermont|
|Historical era||American Revolution|
|Warning: Value not specified for "continent"|
History[edit | edit source]
Revolutionary Era[edit | edit source]
After 1724, the Province of Massachusetts Bay built Fort Dummer near Brattleboro, as well as three other forts along the northern portion of the Connecticut River to protect against raids by Native Americans farther south into Western Massachusetts. After 1749, Benning Wentworth, the Royal Governor of New Hampshire, granted land to anyone in a land granting scheme designed to enrich himself and his family. After 1763, settlement increased due to easing security concerns after the end of the French and Indian Wars. The Province of New York had made grants of land, often in areas overlapping similar grants made by the Province of New Hampshire; this issue had to be resolved by the King in 1764, who granted the land to New York, but the area was popularly known as the New Hampshire Grants. The "Green Mountain Boys", led by Ethan Allen, was a militia force from Vermont that supported the New Hampshire claims and fought against the British during the American Revolution.
On 19 August 1781, the Confederation Congress of the United States passed an act saying they would recognize the secessionist state of Vermont and agreed to admit that state to the Union if Vermont would renounce its claims to territory east of the Connecticut River and west of Lake Champlain. The Constitution of Vermont was drafted and ratified at Elijah West's Windsor Tavern in 1777. The settlers in Vermont, who sought independence from New York, justified their constitution on the same basis as the first state constitutions of the former colonies: authority is derived from the people. As historian Christian Fritz notes in American Sovereigns: The People and America's Constitutional Tradition before the Civil War:
They saw themselves as a distinct region outside the legitimate jurisdiction of New York. Possessing an identifiable population or "a people" entitled them to the same constitutional rights of self-government as other "Peoples" in the American confederacy.
The Vermont constitution was modeled after the radically democratic constitution of Pennsylvania on the suggestion of Dr. Young, who worked with Thomas Paine and others on that 1776 document in Philadelphia. During the time of the American Revolution, the government issued its own coinage and currency, and operated a postal service. The governor of Vermont, Thomas Chittenden, with the consent of his council and the General Assembly, appointed commissioners to the American government seated in Philadelphia. Vermont engaged in diplomatic negotiations with the United States, the Netherlands, and France.
After a British regiment and allied Mohawks attacked and terrorized Vermont settlers, in the Royalton Raid, Ethan Allen led a group of Vermont politicians in secret discussions with Frederick Haldimand, the Governor General of the Province of Quebec, about rejoining the British Empire.
War with New York[edit | edit source]
After the failure of the constitutional convention in 1787, the Vermont Republic under Thomas Chittenden continued to contend that it was independent from its neighbors, and when it became clear that the United States had fallen, the state’s government voted to declare independence. This immediately brought the new nation into conflict with its neighbors, particularly the new nation of New York to the south and west. The states of Massachusetts and New Hampshire had likewise also claimed Vermont at various times, with Ethan Allen’s Green Mountain Boys having fought against New Yorker settlers in the leadup to the American Revolution.
Allen’s militia developed into Vermont’s national army, with Allen as one of its leaders. Despite some skirmishes occurring near the border, Vermont quickly negotiated peace with New Hampshire, confirming the border that had existed between the two previously, as the eastern states found themselves at odds with Vermont’s mutual enemy, New York; the former colony of New Frisia was captured by New York in late 1787, despite claims of a new nation of New England including it, spearheaded by the government in Boston.
Vermont’s cause was aided in 1788, when Illinois declared its independence and ownership of the entire former Northwest Territory, entering the war against New York. That year also saw the entrance of the Iroquois against the New Yorkers, but the introduction of the native Western Confederacy on New York’s side as a co-belligerent, along with Virginia and Pennsylvania. Despite this, there was little coordination between Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New York, as all three also had differing, sometimes conflicting goals. In particular, Pennsylvania desired the Erie Triangle region from New York, in order to gain access to the Great Lakes.
Despite initial defeats in southern Vermont, New Englander forces managed to repulse the New Yorkers that autumn. Vermont’s army participated little in the south for the remainder of the war, aside from a small militia to protect the border region, leaving the invasion of New York in the hands of New Englander forces. However, at the end of the year Ira Allen and 300 men launched an invasion of the Adirondack region, achieving surprising success despite being outnumbered. This led to the Green Mountain Boys under the Allen brothers, and the most zealous members of the nation’s government, to call for the annexation of land up to Lake Ontario, granting the state access to the Great Lakes. Although controversial in Vermont, New York began to consider the offer given the land’s sparse white population, inhospitabitality, and the fact that much of the region was owned by the Iroquois de facto.
By the end of the year New England laid siege to the city of Albany, but before the city fell both sides entered into peace negotiations. The New Englanders were unable to gain the entirety of New Frisia, but expanded their land nonetheless, while Vermont was granted its independence and its demand in upstate New York. The New England union would falter soon after, as the components of the nation quarrelled amongst themselves. Vermont turned on their former ally and covertly supported the breakup of New England, countering the minor movement in both nations that called for Vermont’s admittance into the union.
This issue came to a head in the 1789 presidential election in Vermont. Incumbent Thomas Chittenden supported Vermont’s continued independence, and also neutrality in the coming years. Controversially, Chittenden also extended relations to British Canada, with support from Ethan Allen. Moses Robinson represented the Anti-Administration Party, which favored independence as well, but also Jeffersonian-style agrarianism and populism, anti-British relations, and military involvement in New England. The Federalist Party of Vermont was led by Seth Warner, a former military commander during both the revolution and the war with New York, and a staunchly anti-New York politician. Warner favored unification with New England, immediate war to defeat secessionists there, and policies inspired by John Adams. The Union Party was formed in favor of the New Yorkers, instead arguing for union with New York. Although the Union Party diminished in popularity during the war, they nominated Samuel Safford as candidate.
Of a total 3,247 votes cast, Chittenden would receive 1,363 votes, Robinson received 746, Warner received 630, Safford received 304, and other candidates combined received a total of 204 votes. The early weeks of Chittenden’s new term became focused on the creation of a new constitution for the nation, which included a change to its electoral system and the introduction of new term limits. For the most part the president continued his promise to remain neutral, however, minor support was granted to New Hampshire in 1790 in order to ensure that the border with Vermont was respected.
After Chittenden decided not to seek reelection in 1793, the political parties of Vermont began to solidify and strengthen. Moses Robinson was again selected as the candidate for the Anti-Administration Party, with military officer Joseph Marsh also proposed as candidate. Robinson’s party had begun to splinter however, with Paul Brigham and Israel Smith creating the Republican Party the year prior. The Federalists selected Isaac Tichenor as their candidate, while the Union Party selected John Shepardson, Justice of the Supreme Court, as their candidate.
Paul Brigham would win the election, marking the beginning of Republican control of government. The Anti-Administration Party received the second-most votes, however, it was becoming increasingly clear that the party was becoming unpopular compared to the very similar Republicans, and the party disbanded the following year. The Federalists received the third among of votes, followed by the Union Party, which dissolved before the end of the year. However, most former members of the Union Party, and many Federalists, joined a new party, known as the Continental Party, which favored union and expansion more broadly speaking, as well as many federalist principles, differing mostly on economic ideas.
Political Parties[edit | edit source]
- Federalist Party (1788-1820) - Pro-New England
- Anti-Administration Party (1789-1794)
- Union Party (1787-1793) - Pro-New York
- Republican Party (1792-1890) - Agrarianism, Populism
- Mountain Party (1820-) - Conservatism
- Transcendental Party (1823-1870)
- Anti-Masonic Party (1824-1890)
- Praxis Party (1868-) - Green Anarchism, Tolstoyanism, Anarcho-Primitivism
- Green Party (1869-)
- Progressive Party (1878-) - Liberalism
- Populist Party (1890-)
- People’s Party (1890-1951)
- Syndicalist Party (1900-)
- Socialist Party (1904-)
- Naturism Party (1905-1932)
- Futurist Party (1912-)
- Constitution Party (1955-) - Limited government