Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Second Vermont Republic?

The Second Vermont Republic is a nonviolent citizens’ network and think tank committed to the return of Vermont to its rightful status as an independent republic as it once was between 1777 and 1791 and more broadly to the dissolution of the Union.

What is the primary objective of the movement?

Independence. To extricate Vermont peacefully, legally, and democratically from the United States as soon as possible.

Does that mean secession?

Yes.

Why does Vermont want to secede?

First, the United States suffers from imperial overstretch and has become unsustainable politically, economically, agriculturally, socially, culturally, and environmentally. Second, Vermont finds it increasingly difficult to protect itself from the debilitating effects of big business, big agriculture, big markets, and big government, who want all of us to be the same-just like they are. Third, the United States government has lost its moral authority because it is owned, operated, and controlled by Wall Street and Corporate America. Fourth, American foreign policy, which is based on the doctrine of full spectrum dominance, is immoral, illegal, unconstitutional, and in violation of the United Nations charter. Fifth, as long as Vermont remains in the Union its citizens face curtailed civil liberties, the risk of terrorist attack, and the risk of the conscription of its youth. Sixth, our government supports multitrillion dollar budget deficits, endless Wall Street bailouts, corporate greed and fraud, environmental degradation, dependence on imported oil, and a culture of deceit.

But isn’t secession unconstitutional?

Absolutely not. “Whenever any form of government becomes destructive, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute a new government,” said Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence. Just as a group has a right to form, so too does it have a right to disband, to subdivide itself, or withdraw from a larger unit. The U.S. Constitution does not forbid secession. According to the tenth amendment, that which is not expressly prohibited by the Constitution is allowed. All states have a Constitutional right to secede.

Besides independence, what other principles does SVR subscribe to?

Living life on a human scale; sustainability in all aspects of life; economic solidarity; shared political power and devolution of government back to the people; equal access to health care, education, housing, and employment for all Vermonters; tension reduction and non-violence; and a strong sense of community.

Does the Second Vermont Republic want to take over the government of Vermont?

Absolutely not. The people of the independent republic of Vermont will decide how it is governed. Unlike the Free State Project in New Hampshire, our aim is not to take over the government.

Could Vermont survive economically as an independent nation-state?

Yes! Of the 200 or so independent nation-states in the world, 50 of them have a smaller population than Vermont (pop. 623,000). Six of the ten richest countries in the world as measured by per capita income are smaller than Vermont. Political independence is not a synonym for economic and political isolation. Over 600 Vermont firms export nearly 24 percent of the State’s gross state product. We see no reason why this should change after independence.

Is Vermont independence politically feasible?

Yes. Ultimately whether or not Vermont achieves political independence is a question of political will. Is the will of the people of Vermont for independence strong enough to overcome the will of the U.S. government to prevent them from achieving their goal? In 1989 six Eastern European allies of the Soviet Union unseated their respective Communist governments and seceded from the Soviet sphere of influence. With the bloody exception of Romania, this all took place nonviolently. The Second Vermont Republic has been particularly influenced by the solidarity movement in Poland and Czechoslovak leader Vaclav Havel’s concept of the “power of the powerless.”

What are the steps to independence?

The Vermont Legislature must be persuaded to authorize a convention of the people to vote on rescinding the petition for statehood approved by the Vermont Assembly in January 1791 and ratified on March 4, 1791. To be credible the vote should pass by at least a two-thirds majority. Articles of Secession should then be submitted to the U.S. President, Secretary of State, President of the Senate, Speaker of the House, etc. Diplomatic recognition should be sought from Canada, Quebec, Mexico, England, France, and the United Nations. And then the moment of truth-Vermont would start behaving like an independent nation-state.

If we secede, what government will we have?

Currently, Vermont’s state government is one of the most centralized governments in the United States. While it is up to the citizens of Vermont to decide on this question, we encourage Vermonters to adopt some form of small “r” republican representative government that draws on aspects of both existing town and state governments in a new and more decentralized relationship. Vermont’s own constitution provides an excellent foundation upon which to build an independent small “r” republican government.

Will we have our own currency?

Again, the citizens of Vermont will decide on this question. One option is to link Vermont’s currency exchange with a larger existing regional system: the E.U.’s Euro or the Canadian “Loonie,” for example. Other options would be to create an independent Vermont currency or several local currencies. Still another option would be to return Vermont to the gold standard. A thoughtful exploration of all the currency options is already underway.

What about the financial help the federal government gives us for education, transportation, and other programs?

For every dollar paid by Vermonters for federal taxes, Vermont gets back only 75 cents in federal expenditures. That’s not a very good deal.

With all the current immigration challenges, what about our borders? Will people need passports to go in and out of Vermont?

Passports may indeed be a handy way of allowing for easy cross-border travel in the new republic. Vermont citizens must decide on how best to protect our new republic’s borders and how best to allow for an immigration policy that balances safety with accessible cross-border travel. There are no easy answers here, but we remain confident that Vermonters will come to a judicious decision about how best to proceed in this area.

What about my social security? My Medicaid and Medicare?

Established during the Great Depression of the 1930s by FDR’s “New Deal” policies, social security represents an individual contract between each U.S. citizen and the federal government. Thousands of Americans living overseas collect social security payments. It is mainly a question of whether or not the federal government will honor individual contracts once Vermont peaceably secedes from the United States. With regard to Medicaid and Medicare benefits, we envision Vermont citizens developing a more decentralized and local alternative to the existing system. What it will look like will be up to Vermont citizens to decide.

Will our taxes be lower?

A family of three earning $50,000 per year would save $6,330 annually, if Vermont were an independent republic ($750 in income taxes and $5,580 in its pro rata share of the federal deficit).

What if Vermont independence fails?

Vermont still provides a communitarian alternative to the dehumanized, mass production, mass consumption, narcissistic lifestyle which pervades most of the United States. Vermont is smaller, more rural, more democratic, less violent, less commercial, more egalitarian, and more independent than most states. It offers itself as a kinder, gentler metaphor for a nation obsessed with money, power, size, speed, greed, and fear of terrorism.

How can I get involved with SVR?

Visit our website: www.vermontrepublic.org. You can also contact us at PO Box 544, Charlotte, VT 05445, or 802-425-4133.