Vermont's Noteworthiness

1. Vermont is the only state which truly invented itself. It was an independent republic before becoming a state. (Texas was part of Mexico until 1836.)

2. Vermont was the first state to outlaw slavery in its Constitution.

3. It was also the first to give the right to vote to people without property.

4. When Alexander Twilight graduated from Middlebury College in 1823, he was the first African American college graduate in America.

5. In 1836, he became the first African American to be elected to the state legislature.

6. Vermont was the first state to send troops to fight in the Civil War in 1861.

7. U.S. Senator Justin Smith Morrill of Vermont sponsored the legislation creating land grant colleges in the United States.

8. University of Vermont graduate George Washington Henderson became the second African American Phil Beta Kappa member in 1877.

9. The first canal built in America was in Vermont.

10. The electric motor and the platform scale were invented in Vermont—the first state to receive a patent.

11. Vermonters summarily rejected the development of a Connecticut River Authority modeled after the Tennessee Valley Authority.

12. The University of Vermont is the smallest of the flagship state universities in America.

13. Vermont is the most rural state in the nation.

14. Vermont has no death penalty and virtually no gun control laws, yet it is one of the least violent states in the union.

15. Vermont’s Civil Union law was the first in the nation.

16. Vermont was the first state to have a state symphony orchestra.

17. The Green Mountain state is cityless, and its capital Montpelier is the smallest in the country.

18. Vermont has no slums or urban ghettos.

19. Vermont’s unique environmental law regulating real estate development, Act 250, was the first in the nation.

20. In 1993, the National Trust for Historic Preservation designated the entire state of Vermont as one of America’s most “endangered historical places,” the first time a state had ever been so designated. The designation was repeated in 2004.

21. For twenty years, Cavendish was the home of Russian Nobel prize-winning writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn.

22. Vermont was one of the first states to pass a “bottle bill.”

23. It has the highest percentage of unpaved roads and was the first state to ban billboards alongside highways.

24. The Vermont Law School has the best environmental law program in the country.

25. Vermont kept Wal-Mart at bay longer than any other state.

26. Montpelier is the only state capital without a McDonald’s restaurant.

27. Even though Vermont was the most Republican state in the Nation between 1854 and 1958, it managed to avoid both McCarthyism and the politics of race.

28. Today, Vermont is the most liberal state in the Union. Senator Bernie Sanders and Burlington Mayor Bob Kiss are both Progressives (Democratic Socialists).

29. When Reagan was still riding high, 180 Vermont towns voted in favor of a nuclear freeze.

30. Vermont was the first state to offer a headstart program.

31. Vermont elected a Jewish woman, who was born in Switzerland, governor in 1985.

32. In 1994, when every defeated incumbent in the U.S. House of Representatives was a Democrat, Vermont elected a socialist to Congress.

33. Seven of seven independent-minded Vermont towns voted to secede from the Union in their 1990 town meetings.

34. Vermont is always ranked near the top of the list of states who treat women and children well.

35. All three members of Vermont’s Congressional delegation voted against the resolution authorizing military action against Iraq.

36. Vermont has no military bases, few defense contractors, and no strategic resources, other than the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant.

37. Vermont is the healthiest state in the nation according to the United Health Foundation.

38. Seventy-seven percent of the eligible voters in Vermont believe the U.S. government has lost its moral authority.

39. Forty-nine percent of them think the United States has become unsustainable (politically, economically, militarily, and environmentally).

May 15, 2008