Vermont Independence Resolution

NO. R-105. JOINT RESOLUTION designating January as Vermont HISTORY AND Independence MONTH.

(J.R.H.3)

Offered by: Representatives Obuchowski of Rockingham, Ancel of Calais, Miller of Shaftsbury, Donahue of Northfield, Errecart of Shelburne, Heath of Westford, McAllister of Highgate and Milkey of Brattleboro.

Whereas, the first legal reference to the geographic territory that now encompasses the state of Vermont was a 1664 grant of land from King Charles II of Great Britain to his brother, the Duke of York, that encompassed “all the lands from the west side of the Connecticut River to the east side of the Delaware Bay,” and

Whereas, during the next century, the provinces of New York and New Hampshire each claimed the land contained within Vermont’s future borders, and

Whereas, in 1749, Governor Benning Wentworth of New Hampshire began issuing town grants for settlement of the territory that is now the state of Vermont, and

Whereas, in 1764, King George III of Great Britain and his Council declared that the territory west of the Connecticut River belonged to the province of New York, and

Whereas, this decision led New York to declare the New Hampshire grants void and demand that they be reissued under its own legal imprimatur, and

Whereas, this decision was received with much anger in many towns and led to acts of resistance and violence inspired in part by one of Vermont’s most famous early leaders, Ethan Allen, and

Whereas, several local preludes to Vermont’s declaration of independence include the Bennington Declaration for Freedom issued in May 1775, the Dorset Convention of January 1776 that refuted the authority of the provincial congress of New York, and an even more adamant call to break away from New York issued again from Dorset in September 1776, and

Whereas, in January of 1777, a convention of citizens meeting in the town of Westminster declared this state, initially named New Connecticut, “to be free and independent of the Crown of Great Britain” and equally important from the state of New York, and

Whereas, on June 4, 1777, the Windsor Convention adopted the name Vermont by which our state has been known ever since, and subsequently on July 8, 1777 approved our state’s first constitution, and

Whereas, the state of Vermont, along with the state of Texas, is one of only two states in the United States to have been an independent republic prior to its admission to the union, and

Whereas, the Vermont Constitution was the first state constitution to abolish slavery, establish universal suffrage for all adult males regardless of race, and to create a system of public education, and

Whereas, these events are worthy of observance each year in commemoration of Vermont’s independence and constitutional adoption, now therefore be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:

That January be observed annually as Vermont History and Independence Month in recognition of the momentous events which resulted in the establishment of the state of Vermont.