State of Vermont
ORIGIN OF STATE NAME: Derived from the French words vert (green) and mont (mountain).
NICKNAME: The Green Mountain State.
ENTERED UNION: 4 March 1791 (14th).
SONG: "Hail Vermont."
MOTTO: Freedom and Unity.
COAT OF ARMS: Rural Vermont is represented by a pine tree in the center, three sheaves of grain on the left, and a cow on the right, with a background of fields and mountains. A deer crests the shield. Below are crossed pine branches and the state name and motto.
FLAG: The coat of arms on a field of dark blue.
OFFICIAL SEAL: Bisecting Vermont's golden seal is a row of wooded hills above the state name. The upper half has a spearhead, pine tree, cow, and two sheaves of wheat, while two more sheaves and the state motto fill the lower half.
BIRD: Hermit thrush.
FISH: Brook trout (cold water) and walleye pike (warm water).
FLOWER: Red clover.
TREE: Sugar maple.
LEGAL HOLIDAYS: New Year's Day, 1 January; Birthday of Martin Luther King Jr., 3rd Monday in January; Presidents' Day, 3rd Monday in February; Town Meeting Day, 1st Tuesday in March; Memorial Day, last Monday in May; Independence Day, 4 July; Bennington Battle Day, 16 August; Labor Day, 1st Monday in September; Veterans' Day, 11 November; Thanksgiving Day, 4th Thursday in November and the day following; Christmas Day, 25 December.
TIME: 7 AM EST = noon GMT.
LOCATION, SIZE, AND EXTENT
Situated in the northeastern United States, Vermont is the second-largest of the six New England states, and ranks 43rd in size among the 50 states.
Vermont's total area of 9,614 sq mi (24,900 sq km) consists of 9,249 sq mi (23,955 sq km) of land and 365 sq mi (945 sq km) of inland water. Vermont's maximum e-w extension is 90 mi (145 km); its maximum n-s extension is 158 mi (254 km). The state resembles a wedge, wide and flat at the top and narrower at the bottom.
Vermont is bordered on the n by the Canadian province of Quebec; on the e by New Hampshire (separated by the Connecticut River); on the s by Massachusetts; and on the w by New York (with part of the line passing through Lake Champlain and the Poultney River).
The state's territory includes several islands and the lower part of a peninsula jutting south into Lake Champlain from the Canadian border, collectively called Grand Isle County. Vermont's total boundary length is 561 mi (903 km). Its geographic center is in Washington County, 3 mi (5 km) e of Roxbury.
The Green Mountains are the most prominent topographic region in Vermont. Extending north-south from the Canadian border to the Massachusetts state line, the Green Mountains contain the state's highest peaks, including Mansfield, 4,393 ft (1,340 m), the highest point in Vermont; Killington, 4,235 ft (1,293 m); and Elbow Mountain (Warren), 4,135 ft (1,260 m). A much lower range, the Taconic Mountains, straddles the New York-Vermont border for about 80 mi (129 km). To their north is the narrow Valley of Vermont; farther north is the Champlain Valley, a lowland about 20 mi (32 km) wide between Lake Champlain—site of the state's lowest point, 95 ft (29 m) above sea level—and the Green Mountains. The Vermont piedmont is a narrow corridor of hills and valleys stretching about 100 mi (161 km) to the east of the Green Mountains. The Northeast Highlands consist of an isolated series of peaks near the New Hampshire border. The mean elevation of the state is approximately 1,000 ft (305 m).
Vermont's major inland rivers are the Missisquoi, Lamoille, and Winooski. The state includes about 66% of Lake Champlain on its western border and about 25% of Lake Memphremagog on the northern border.
Burlington's normal daily average temperature is 45°f (7°c), ranging from 18°f (−7°c) in January to 70°f (21°c) in July. Winters are generally colder and summer nights cooler in the higher elevations of the Green Mountains. The record high temperature for the state is 105°f (41°c), registered at Vernon on 4 July 1911; the record low, −50°f (−46°c), at Bloomfield, 30 December 1933. Burlington's average annual precipitation of about 34 in (86 cm) is less than the statewide average of about 40 in (102 cm). Annual snowfall in Burlington is 76.9 in (195 cm); elsewhere in the state snowfall ranges from 55 to 65 in (140-165 cm) in the lower regions, and from 100 to 125 in (254-318 cm) in the mountain areas.
FLORA AND FAUNA
Common trees of Vermont are the commercially important sugar maple (the state tree), the butternut, white pine, and yellow birch. Other recognized flora include 15 types of conifer, 130 grasses, and 192 sedges. Two plant species, Jesup's milk-vetch and Northeastern bulrush, were endangered in 2006.
Native mammalian species include white-tailed deer, coyote, red fox, and snowshoe hare. Several species of trout are prolific. Characteristic birds include the raven (Corvus corax), gray or Canada jay, and saw-whet owl. In 2006, the US Fish and Wildlife Service listed six animal species (vertebrates and invertebrates) as threatened or endangered in Vermont, including the Indiana bat, dwarf wedgemussel, and bald eagle.
All natural resource regulation, planning, and operation are coordinated by the Department of Environmental Conservation. The state is divided into 14 soil and water conservation districts operated by local landowners with the assistance of the state Natural Resources Conservation Council. Several dams on the Winooski and Connecticut river's drainage basins help control flooding.
Legislation enacted in 1972 bans the use of throwaway beverage containers in Vermont, in an effort to reduce roadside litter. Billboards were banned in 1968. In the 1980s and early 1990s, the effects of acid rain became a source of concern in Vermont, as in the rest of the Northeast. In 2003, 0.3 million lb of toxic chemicals were released in the state. That year, Vermont ranked as having the least amount of toxic chemical releases of all 50 states.
By some estimates as much as 35% of Vermont's wetlands have been lost since colonization. As of 2002, about 4% of the state was designated as wetlands, and the government has established the Vermont Wetlands Conservation Strategy.
In 2003, Vermont had 56 hazardous waste sites listed in the US Environment Protection Agency (EPA) database, 11 of which were on the National Priorities List as of 2006, including the Pine Street Canal in Burlington and the Ely Copper Mine. In 2005, the EPA spent over $4.4 million through the Superfund program for the cleanup of hazardous waste sites in the state. The same year, federal EPA grants awarded to the state included $6.4 million for the clean water state revolving fund.
Vermont ranked 49th in population in the United States with an estimated total of 623,050 in 2005, an increase of 2.3% since 2000. Between 1990 and 2000, Vermont's population grew from 562,758 to 608,827, an increase of 8.2%. The population is projected to reach 673,169 by 2015 and 703,288 by 2025. The population density in 2004 was 67.2 persons per sq mi.
In 2004, the median age for Vermont residents was 40.4. In the same year, 21.7% of the populace were under age 18 while 13% was age 65 or older. The rural population increased 12% between 1970 and 1980; in the 1990s, Vermont had the highest percentage of rural dwellers in all states.
Vermont cities with the largest populations, all under 100,000, include Burlington, Rutland, and Montpelier. The Burlington-South Burlington metropolitan area had an estimated population of 204,485 in 2004.
There were 53,835 residents reporting French Canadian ancestry in 2000. These Vermonters are congregated chiefly in the northern counties and in such urban centers as Burlington, St. Albans, and Montpelier. Italians make up 6.4% of the population reporting at least one specific ancestry group. The foreign born numbered 23,245—3.8% of the population—in 2000. In 2000, Hispanics and Latinos numbered 5,504, just under 1% of the total. That percentage remained roughly the same in 2004.
The 1990 census counted few non-Caucasians. There were 5,217 Asians, 3,063 blacks, and 2,420 American Indians. In 2004, 1% of the population was Asian, 0.6% black, 0.4% American Indian, and 1.1% reported origin of two or more races.
A few place-names and very few Indian-language speakers remain as evidence of the early Vermont presence of the Algonkian Mohawk tribe and of some Iroquois in the north. Vermont English, although typical of the Northern dialect, differs from that of New Hampshire in several respects, including retention of the final /r/ and use of eavestrough in place of eavespout.
In 2000, 540,767 Vermonters—94.1% of the population age five and over—spoke only English at home. The percent of the population who spoke only English at home remained constant from 1990 to 2000.
The following table gives selected statistics from the 2000 Census for language spoken at home by persons five years old and over. The category "Scandinavian languages" includes Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish.
|Population 5 years and over||574,842||100.0|
|Speak only English||540,767||94.1|
|Speak a language other than English||34,075||5.9|
|Speak a language other than English||34,075||5.9|
|French (incl. Patois, Cajun)||14,624||2.5|
|Spanish or Spanish Creole||5,791||1.0|
From the early days of settlement to the present, Congregationalists (now called the United Church of Christ) have played a dominant role in the state. They were the largest Protestant denomination in the state in 2000, with 21,597 known adherents. Other major Protestant groups include the United Methodists, 19,000; Episcopalians, 9,163; and American Baptists, 8,352. The largest single religious organization in Vermont is the Roman Catholic Church, with 149,154 members in 2004. There is a small Jewish population (estimated at 5,810 in 2000), most of whom live in Burlington. Over 370,000 people (about 60.9% of the population) were not counted as members of any religious organization.
Vermont was the birthplace of both Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, founders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The state had 4,150 Mormons in 2006.
Vermont's first railroad, completed in 1849, served more as a link to Boston than as an intrastate line. It soon went into receivership, as did many other early state lines. From a high of nearly 1,100 mi (1,770 km) of track in 1910, trackage shrank to 562 rail mi (904 km) in 2003, none of it Class I line. As of that year, eight railroads were operating within the state. Glass and stone products were the top commodities shipped by rail that originated within the state, while lumber and wood products were the top commodities shipped by rail that terminated within Vermont that same year. In 2006, Amtrak provided passenger service to 11 stations in the state via its Ethan Allen (Rutland to New York City) train and its Vermonter (St. Albans to New York City to Washington DC) train.
There were 14,368 mi (23,132 km) of public streets, roads, and highways in 2004. In that same year, there were some 540,000 motor vehicles registered in the state, while there were 550,462 licensed drivers.
In 2005, Vermont had a total of 87 public and private-use aviation-related facilities. This included 61 airports, 20 heliports, 3 STOLports (Short Take-Off and Landing), and 3 seaplane bases. Burlington International Airport is the state's major air terminal. In 2004 the airport handled 627,423 enplanements.
Vermont has been inhabited continuously since about 10,000 bc. Archaeological finds suggest the presence of a pre-Algonkian group along the Otter River. Algonkian-speaking Abnaki settled along Lake Champlain and in the Connecticut Valley, and Mahican settled in the southern counties between ad 1200 and 1790. In 1609, Samuel de Champlain crossed the lake that now bears his name, becoming the first European explorer of Vermont. From the 1650s to the 1760s, French, Iroquois Indians from New York, Dutch, and English passed through the state over trails connecting Montreal with Massachusetts and New York. However, few settled there. In 1666 the French built and briefly occupied Ft. Ste. Anne on Isle La Motte, and in 1690 there was a short-lived settlement at Chimney Point. Ft. Dummer, built in 1724 near present-day Brattleboro, was the first permanent settlement.
Governor Benning Wentworth of New Hampshire, claiming that his colony extended as far west as did Massachusetts and Connecticut, had granted 131 town charters in the territory by 1764. In that year, the crown declared that New York's northeastern boundary was the Connecticut River. Owners of New Hampshire titles, fearful of losing their land, prevented New York from enforcing its jurisdiction. The Green Mountain Boys, organized by Ethan Allen in 1770–71, scared off the defenseless settlers under New York title and flouted New York courts.
Shortly after the outbreak of the Revolutionary War, Ethan Allen's men helped capture Ft. Ticonderoga, and for two years frontiersmen fought in the northern theater. On 16 August 1777, after a skirmish at Hubbardton, a Vermont contingent routed German detachments sent by British General Burgoyne toward Bennington—a battle that contributed to the general's surrender at Saratoga, New York. There were several British raids on Vermont towns during the war.
Vermont declared itself an independent republic with the name "New Connecticut" in 1777, promulgated a constitution abolishing slavery and providing universal manhood suffrage, adopted the laws of Connecticut, and confiscated Tory lands. Most Vermonters preferred to join the United States, but the dominant Allen faction, with large holdings in the northwest, needed free trade with Canada, even at the price of returning to the British Empire. Political defeat of the Allen faction in 1789 led to negotiations that settled New York's claims and secured Vermont's admission to the Union on 4 March 1791.
With 30,000 people in 1781 and nearly 220,000 in 1810, Vermont was a state of newcomers spread evenly over the hills in self-sufficient homesteads. Second-generation Vermonters developed towns and villages with water-powered mills, charcoal-fired furnaces, general stores, newspapers, craft shops, churches, and schools. Those who ran these local institutions tended to be Congregationalist in religion and successively Federalist, Whig, and Republican in party politics. Dissidents in the early 1800s included minority Protestants suffering legal and social discrimination, hardscrabble farmers, and Jacksonian Democrats.
Northwestern Vermonters smuggled to avoid the US foreign trade embargo of 1808, and widespread trade continued with Canada during the War of 1812. In September 1814, however, Vermont soldiers fought in the Battle of Plattsburgh, New York, won by Thomas Macdonough's fleet built at Vergennes the previous winter. The Mexican War (1846–48) was unpopular in the state, but Vermont, which had strongly opposed slavery, was an enthusiastic supporter of the Union during the Civil War.
The opening of the Champlain-Hudson Canal in 1823, and the building of the early railroad lines in 1846–53, made Vermont more vulnerable to western competition, caused the demise of many small farms and businesses, and stimulated emigration. The remaining farmers' purchasing power steadily increased as they held temporary advantages in wool, then in butter and cheese-making, and finally in milk production. The immigration of the Irish and French Canadians stabilized the population, and the expansion of light industry bolstered the economy.
During the 20th century, and especially after World War II, autos, buses, trucks, and planes took over most passengers and much freight from the railroads. Manufacturing, especially light industry, prospered in valley villages. Vermont's picturesque landscape began to attract city buyers of second homes. Still rural in population distribution, Vermont became increasingly suburban in outlook, as new highways made the cities and hills mutually accessible, and the state absorbed an influx of young professionals from New York and Massachusetts. Tourism thrived, especially in the Green Mountains and other ski resort areas. Longtime Vermonters, accustomed to their state's pristine beauty, were confronted in the 1980s with the question of how much development was necessary for the state's economic health. The newcomers changed the political landscape as well. Whereas Vermont had long been dominated by the Republican Party, by the mid-1980s fully a third of the electorate voted Democratic. The Democratic presidential candidate carried Vermont in the 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, and 2004 elections. In 1990, Vermont elected as its sole Congressional representative a democratic socialist, Bernie Sanders, who called for reduced limits on campaign spending, a sharply progressive income tax, national health care, and 50% cuts in military spending over five years. Sanders was reelected in 2004.
In the early 1990s Vermont had the nation's highest percentage of women in its state legislature. With two-thirds of its population living in towns of 2,500 or fewer, it was the nation's most rural state. In 1993 Vermont passed legislation barring smoking in all public buildings, including most restaurants and hotels.
Governor James H. Douglas, a Republican elected in 2002, pledged to create jobs and provide economic security to the state. He also emphasized higher education, and transportation spending. Douglas announced a substance abuse and interdiction program for Vermont's correctional facilities that would include random drug testing, including for those inmates out on furlough. Douglas was reelected to a second two-year term in 2004. In April 2005, Senator Jim Jeffords of Vermont, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, announced he would not seek reelection in 2006. Speculation was raised as to whether or not Douglas would vie with Congressman Bernie Sanders for Jeffords's seat, but Douglas later debunked this notion and declared he would seek reelection as governor in 2006.
A constitution establishing Vermont as an independent republic was adopted in 1777. The constitution that governs the state today became effective on 9 July 1793. By January 2005, that document had been amended 53 times.
The General Assembly consists of a 150-member House of Representatives and a 30-member Senate. All legislators are elected to two-year terms. Regular sessions begin in January and are not formally limited in length. Legislators must be US citizens, at least 18 years old and residents of the state for at least two years and of their districts for at least one year. In 2003 the legislative salary was $589 per week during session.
State elected officials are the governor and lieutenant governor (elected separately), treasurer, secretary of state, auditor of accounts, and attorney general, all of whom serve two-year terms. A governor must be at least 18 years of age and have been a state citizen for one year and a state resident for at least four years prior to election. As of December 2004, the governor's salary was $133,162.
All bills require a majority vote in each house for passage. Bills can be vetoed by the governor, and vetoes can be overridden by a two-thirds vote of those present in each legislative house. If the governor neither vetoes nor signs a bill within five days of receiving it, it becomes law. If the legislature has adjourned, an unsigned bill dies after three days. A constitutional amendment must first be passed by a two-thirds vote in the Senate, followed by a majority in the House during the same legislative session. It must then receive majority votes in both houses before it can be submitted to the voters for approval. Amendments may only be submitted every four years.
Voters must be US citizens, at least 18 years old, and state residents.
The Republican Party, which originally drew strength from powerful abolitionist sentiment, gained control of Vermont state offices in 1856 and for more than 100 years dominated state politics. No Democrat was elected governor from 1853 until 1962.
In 1984, Democrat Madeleine M. Kunin was elected as Vermont's first woman governor and only the third Democratic governor in the state's history. Kunin served as governor for three terms, followed in 1990 by Republican Richard Snelling. When Snelling died in office in August 1991, Lieutenant Governor Howard Dean, a Democrat, became governor. Dean was elected to full two-year terms in November 1992, 1994, 1996, 1998, and 2000. (The state has no term limit for the office of governor.) Dean announced
|Vermont Presidential Vote by Major Political Parties, 1948–2004|
|YEAR||ELECTORAL OVTE||VERMONT WINNER||DEMOCRAT||REPUBLICAN|
|*Won US presidential election|
|**IND. candidate Ross Perot received 65,991 votes in 1992 and 31,024 votes in 1996.|
|1984||3||* Reagan (R)||95,730||135,865|
in 2001 that he would not seek reelection in 2002, and in May 2002, became the first candidate to enter the race for the Democratic nomination for president in 2004. Republican James Douglas was elected governor of Vermont in 2002.
Vermont's delegation to the US House of Representatives consists of one Independent. In mid-2005, Democrats controlled the state Senate, with 21 seats out of 30. In the state House of Representatives, the Democrats held 83 seats; the Republicans had 60; and Independents had 7. Following the 2004 election, Vermont had one Independent US senator, James Jeffords, elected in 1988 as a Republican and reelected in 2000 (he switched party affiliation from the Republican Party to independent status in 2001), and one Democratic senator, Patrick Leahy, who was elected to his sixth term in 2004.
Vermont has often shown its independence in national political elections. In 1832, it was the only state to cast a plurality vote for the Anti-Masonic presidential candidate, William Wirt; in 1912, the only state besides Utah to vote for William Howard Taft; and in 1936, the only state besides Maine to prefer Alf Landon to Franklin D. Roosevelt. In 2000, Vermonters gave 51% of their presidential vote to Democratic candidate Al Gore; 41% to Republican George W. Bush; and 7% to Green Party candidate Ralph Nader. In 2004, Democrat John Kerry won 59% to Bush's 39%. In 2004, there were 419,000 registered voters; there is no party registration in the state. The state had three electoral votes in the 2004 presidential election.
As of 2005, there were 14 counties, 47 municipal governments, 288 public school districts, and 152 special districts. In 2002, there were 237 townships. County officers, operating out of shire towns (county seats), include the probate courts judge, assistant judges of the county court, county clerk, state's attorney, high bailiff, treasurer, and sheriff. All cities have mayor-council systems. Towns are governed by selectmen, who serve staggered terms. Larger towns also have town managers. The town meeting remains an important part of government in the state: citizens gather on the first Tuesday in March each year to discuss municipal issues and elect local officials.
In 2005, local government accounted for about 25,068 full-time (or equivalent) employment positions.
To address the continuing threat of terrorism and to work with the federal Department of Homeland Security, homeland security in Vermont operates under executive order; the public safety director/secretary is designated as the state homeland security advisor.
Vermont's Department of Education oversees public elementary, secondary, higher education, and adult education programs. The Agency of Transportation includes the Department of Motor Vehicles, Transportation Board, and Hazardous Materials Committee. The Agency of Human Services coordinates programs for nursing homes, veterans' affairs, social welfare, employment and training, health, corrections, and parole. The Department of Housing and Community Affairs and the Agency of Commerce and Community Development administer federal housing programs and offers aid to localities. Other departments specialize in the areas of: personnel, natural resources, aging, agriculture, labor and industry, libraries, and liquor control.
Vermont's highest court is the Supreme Court, which consists of a chief justice and four associate justices. Other courts include the superior, district, family, and environmental courts, with a total of 497 judges. All judges are appointed by the governor to six-year terms, subject to Senate confirmation, from a list of qualified candidates prepared by the Judicial Nominating Board, which includes representatives of the governor, the legislature, and the Vermont bar. There are also 318 associate judges and 50 permissive associate judges.
As of 31 December 2004, a total of 1,968 prisoners were held in Vermont's state and federal prisons, an increase from 1,944 of 1.2% from the previous year. As of year-end 2004, a total of 143 inmates were female, up from 135 or 5.9% from the year before. Among sentenced prisoners (one year or more), Vermont had an incarceration rate of 233 per 100,000 population in 2004.
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Vermont in 2004, had a violent crime rate (murder/nonnegligent manslaughter; forcible rape; robbery; aggravated assault) of 112 reported incidents per 100,000 population (the third-lowest in the United States), or a total of 696 reported incidents. Crimes against property (burglary; larceny/theft; and motor vehicle theft) in that same year totaled 14,343 reported incidents or 2,308.2 reported incidents per 100,000 people. Vermont has no death penalty. The state's last execution took place in 1954.
In 2003, Vermont spent $60,914,924 on homeland security, an average of $95 per state resident.
In 2004, there were 60 active-duty military personnel and 613 civilian personnel stationed in Vermont. Also in 2004, the government awarded almost $452 million in defense contracts to Vermont firms, and defense payroll outlays were $140 million, the lowest in the nation.
In 2003, there were 57,802 veterans living in Vermont, of which 7,823 served in World War II; 6,808 in the Korean conflict; 18,371 during the Vietnam era; and 6,589 during the Gulf War. In 2004, the Veterans Administration expended more than $159 million in pensions, medical assistance, and other major veterans' benefits.
In 2004, the Vermont State Police employed 302 full-time sworn officers.
The earliest Vermont settlers were farmers from southern New England and New York; most were of English descent although some Dutch settlers moved to Vermont from New York. French Canadians came beginning in the 1830s; by 1850, several thousand had moved into Vermont. As milling, quarrying, and mining grew during the 19th century, other Europeans arrived—small groups of Italians and Scots in Barre, and Poles, Swedes, Czechs, Russians, and Austrians in the Rutland quarry areas. Irish immigrants built the railroads in the mid-19th century. Steady out-migrations during the 19th and early 20th centuries kept population increases down, and in the decades 1910–20 and 1930–40, the population dropped. During the 1960s, the population of blacks more than doubled, though they still accounted for only 0.34% of the population in 1990. Between 1970 and 1983, 45,000 migrants settled in Vermont. From 1985 to 1990, Vermont had a net gain from migration of nearly 21,400. Falling from 33.8% in 1980, Vermont's urban population in 1990 was the lowest among the states at 32.2% and fell further to 27.7% in 1996. Between 1990 and 1998, the state had net gains of 5,000 in domestic migration and 4,000 in international migration. In 1998, Vermont admitted 513 foreign immigrants. Between 1990 and 1998, Vermont's overall population increased 5%. In the period 2000–05, net international migration was 4,359 and net internal migration was 3,530, for a net gain of 7,889 people.
Vermont participates in New England compacts on corrections, higher education, water pollution control, police, and radiological health protection. The state also takes part in the Connecticut River Valley Flood Control Compact, Connecticut River Atlantic Salmon Compact, Interstate Pest Control Compact, and Northeastern Forest Fire Protection Compact. The state has several agreements with New Hampshire regarding schools, and sewage and waste disposal. Federal grants to Vermont amounted to $1.019 billion in fiscal year 2005, fifth-lowest of all the states (Wyoming received the least amount of federal aid). In fiscal year 2006, Vermont received an estimated $1.053 billion in federal grants, and an estimated $1.080 billion in fiscal year 2007.
During its early years of statehood, Vermont was overwhelmingly agricultural, with beef cattle, sheep, and dairying contributing greatly to the state's income. After World War II, agriculture was replaced by manufacturing and tourism as the backbone of the economy. Durable goods manufacturing (primarily electronics and machine parts), construction, wholesale and retail trade, and other service industries have shown the largest growth in employ-ment during the 1990s. Vermont's economy was little impacted by the national recession in 2001, as the growth rate of its gross state product, which had accelerated from 5.1% in 1998 to 5.3% in 1999, to 5.6% in 2000, actually improved to 5.7% in 2001. The main negative effect was an unexpected shortfall in tax revenues that followed the abrupt collapse in capital gains income, presenting Vermont, as with most states, with a state budget crisis. Payroll employment did decline, but the trough was reached by April 2002, and despite layoffs by IBM in late 2002, the state economy registered net job gains in fall 2002. Per capita income grew in the first half of 2002, and Vermont's bankruptcy rate was the lowest in New England.
In 2004, Vermont's gross state product (GSP) was $21.921 billion, of which manufacturing (durable and nondurable goods) accounted for the largest share at $2.954 billion or 13.4% of GSP, followed by the real estate sector at $2.760 billion (12.5% of GSP), and healthcare and social assistance at $2.025 billion (9.2% of GSP). In that same year, there were an estimated 74,957 small businesses in Vermont. Of the 21,335 businesses that had employees, an estimated total of 20,649 or 96.8% were small companies. An estimated 2,322 new businesses were established in the state in 2004, up 9.4% from the year before. Business terminations that same year came to 2,578, down 0.2% from 2003. There were 85 business bankruptcies in 2004, up 9% from the previous year. In 2005, the state's personal bankruptcy (Chapter 7 and Chapter 13) filing rate was 296 filings per 100,000 people, ranking Vermont as the 49th highest in the nation.
In 2005 Vermont had a gross state product (GSP) of $23 billion which accounted for 0.2% of the nation's gross domestic product and placed the state at number 51 in highest GSP among the 50 states and the District of Columbia.
According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, in 2004 Vermont had a per capita personal income (PCPI) of $31,780. This ranked 24th in the United States and was 96% of the national average of $33,050. The 1994–2004 average annual growth rate of PCPI was 4.6%. Vermont had a total personal income (TPI) of $19,742,824,000, which ranked 49th in the United States and reflected an increase of 5.8% from 2003. The 1994–2004 average annual growth rate of TPI was 5.3%. Earnings of persons employed in Vermont increased from $13,759,886,000 in 2003 to $14,628,555,000 in 2004, an increase of 6.3%. The 2003–04 national change was 6.3%.
The US Census Bureau reports that the three-year average median household income for 2002–04 in 2004 dollars was $45,692 compared to a national average of $44,473. During the same period an estimated 8.8% of the population was below the poverty line as compared to 12.4% nationwide.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in April 2006 the seasonally adjusted civilian labor force in Vermont 360,300, with approximately 12,000 workers unemployed, yielding an unemployment rate of 3.3%, compared to the national average of 4.7% for the same period. Preliminary data for the same period placed nonfarm employment at 307,100. Since the beginning of the BLS data series in 1976, the highest unemployment rate recorded in Vermont was 9% in June 1976. The historical low was 2.2% in March 2000. Preliminary nonfarm employment data by occupation for April 2006 showed that approximately 5.5% of the labor force was employed in construction; 11.9% in manufacturing; 19.5% in trade, transportation, and public utilities; 4.2% in financial activities; 7.2% in professional and business services; 17.9% in education and health services; 10.6% in leisure and hospitality services; and 17.3% in government.
The BLS reported that in 2005, a total of 31,000 of Vermont's 287,000 employed wage and salary workers were formal members of a union. This represented 10.8% of those so employed, up from 9.8% in 2004, but still below the national average of 12%. Overall in 2005, a total of 37,000 workers (13%) in Vermont were covered by a union or employee association contract, which includes those workers who reported no union affiliation. Vermont is one of 28 states that does not have a right-to-work law.
As of 1 March 2006, Vermont had a state-mandated minimum wage rate of $7.25 per hour, which applied to employers with two or more employees. Beginning 1 January 2007, Vermont's state minimum wage rate was scheduled to be adjusted annually by either 5%, the percent increase of the Consumer Price Index, or the city average. In 2004, women in the state accounted for 47.9% of the employed civilian labor force.
Although Vermont is one of the nation's most rural states, its agricultural income was only $561 million in 2005, 41st among the 50 states. More than 85% of that came from livestock and livestock products, especially dairy products. The leading crops in 2004 were corn for silage, 1,755,000 tons; hay, 384,000 tons; and apples, 44.5 million lb.
The merino sheep and the Morgan horse (a breed developed in Vermont) were common sights on pastures more than a century ago, but today they have been for the most part replaced by dairy cattle. In 2003, Vermont dairy farms had around 149,000 milk cows that produced 2.64 billion lb (1.2 billion kg) of milk. In 2005, the state had an estimated 275,000 cattle and calves, valued at $357.5 million.
Sport fishermen can find ample species of trout, perch, walleye pike, bass, and pickerel in Vermont's waters, many of which are stocked by the Department of Fish and Game. There are two national fish hatcheries in the state (Pittsford and White River). In 2004, the state issued 121,701 sport fishing licenses. There is very little commercial fishing.
The Green Mountain State is covered by 4,628,000 acres (1,873,000 hectares) of forestland—78% of the state's total land area—much of it owned or leased by lumber companies. In 2004, lumber production totaled 183 million board ft.
The largest forest reserve in Vermont is the Green Mountain National Forest, with 391,862 acres (158,587 hectares) in 2005, managed by the US Forest Service.
According to preliminary data from the US Geological Survey (USGS), the estimated value of nonfuel mineral production by Vermont in 2003 was $73 million, an increase from 2002 of over 3%.
According to the preliminary data for 2003, dimension stone was the state's top nonfuel minerals by value, accounting for around 40% of the state's publishable nonfuel mineral output, by value. Nationally by volume, Vermont ranked third in the production of talc and fourth in the production of dimension stone.
Preliminary data in 2003 showed that Vermont produced 98,000 metric tons of dimension stone, which was valued at $29 million. In that same year, the state produced 4.6 million metric tons of crushed stone, valued at $22.8 million, and 4.7 million metric tons of construction sand and gravel, valued at $21.2 million. Granite is quarried near Barre, and slate is found in the Southwest. The West Rutland-Proctor area has the world's largest marble reserve, the Danby quarry.
ENERGY AND POWER
Because of the state's lack of fossil fuel resources, utility bills are higher in Vermont than in most states. As of 2003, Vermont had 22 electrical power service providers, of which 15 were publicly owned and two were cooperatives. Of the remainder, four were investor owned, and one was the owner of an independent generator that sold directly to customers. As of that same year there were 317,126 retail customers. Of that total, 238,957 received their power from investor-owned service providers. Cooperatives accounted for 26,265 customers, while publicly owned providers had 51,903 customers. There was only one independent generator or "facility" customer.
Total net summer generating capability by the state's electrical generating plants in 2003 stood at 997 MW, with total production that same year at 6.027 billion kWh. Of the total amount generated, 10.4% came from electric utilities, with the remaining 89.6% coming from independent producers and combined heat and power service providers. The largest portion of all electric power generated, 4.444 billion kWh (73.7%), came from nuclear power plants, with hydroelectric plants in second place at 1.154 billion kWh (19.1%). Other renewable power sources accounted for 6.7% of all power generated, with petroleum fired plants accounting for the remainder.
As of 2006, the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Wind-ham County was the state's sole operating nuclear power station.
Vermont has no proven reserves or production of crude oil or natural gas. There are no refineries in the state.
According to the US Census Bureau's Annual Survey of Manufactures (ASM) for 2004, Vermont's manufacturing sector covered some 13 product subsectors. The shipment value of all products manufactured in the state that same year was $9.911 billion. Of that total, computer and electronic product manufacturing accounted for the largest share at $3.943 billion. It was followed by food manufacturing at $1.579 billion; fabricated metal product manufacturing at $775.845 million; machinery manufacturing at $477.558 million; and wood product manufacturing at $416.521 million.
In 2004, a total of 38,341 people in Vermont were employed in the state's manufacturing sector, according to the ASM. Of that total, 24,379 were actual production workers. In terms of total employment, the computer and electronic product manufacturing industry accounted for the largest portion of all manufacturing employees at 8,799, with 3,441 actual production workers. It was followed by fabricated metal product manufacturing at 4,407 employees (2,778 actual production workers); food manufacturing at 3,790 employees (2,462 actual production workers); machinery manufacturing at 3,097 employees (1,983 actual production workers);and furniture and related product manufacturing with 2,396 employees (1,896 actual production workers).
ASM data for 2004 showed that Vermont's manufacturing sector paid $1.687 billion in wages. Of that amount, the computer and electronic product manufacturing sector accounted for the largest share at $513.080 million. It was followed by fabricated metal product manufacturing at $228.640 million; machinery manufacturing at $143.549 million; and food manufacturing at $123.967 million.
According to the 2002 Census of Wholesale Trade, Vermont's wholesale trade sector had sales that year totaling $1.6 billion from 869 establishments. Wholesalers of durable goods accounted for 519 establishments, followed by nondurable goods wholesalers at 303 and electronic markets, agents, and brokers accounting for 47 establishments. Sales by durable goods wholesalers in 2002 totaled $1.6 billion, while wholesalers of nondurable goods saw sales of $3.1 billion. Electronic markets, agents, and brokers in the wholesale trade industry had sales of $328.6 million.
In the 2002 Census of Retail Trade, Vermont was listed as having 3,946 retail establishments with sales of $7.6 billion. The leading types of retail businesses by number of establishments were: food and beverage stores (595); gasoline stations (479); miscellaneous store retailers (451); motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts dealers (435); and clothing and clothing accessories stores (388). In terms of sales, motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts dealers accounted for the largest share of retail sales at $1.9 billion, followed by food and beverage stores at $1.3 billion; gasoline stations at $797.6 million; and building material/garden equipment and supplies dealers at $757.3 million. A total of 40,105 people were employed by the retail sector in Vermont that year.
Foreign exports of Vermont manufacturers were estimated at $4.2 billion for 2005.
The Consumer Protection Division of the Attorney General's Office handles most consumer complaints, while the Vermont Public Service Department's Consumer Affairs Division monitors utility rates, and the Agency of Human Services' Department of Aging and Disabilities protects the rights of the state's senior citizens and adults with physical disabilities.
When dealing with consumer protection issues, the state's Attorney General's Office can initiate civil and criminal proceedings; represent the state before state and federal regulatory agencies; administer consumer protection and education programs; handle formal consumer complaints; and exercise broad subpoena powers. In antitrust actions, the Attorney General's Office can act on behalf of those consumers who are incapable of acting on their own; initiate damage actions on behalf of the state in state courts; and initiate criminal proceedings. However, the office cannot represent counties, cities and other governmental entities in recovering civil damages under state or federal law.
The Office of the Attorney General's Consumer Assistance Program has offices in Burlington and Montpelier.
As of June 2005, Vermont had 19 insured banks, savings and loans, and saving banks, plus 26 state-chartered and eight federally chartered credit unions (CUs). Excluding the CUs, the Burlington-South Burlington market area accounted for the largest portion of the state's financial institutions and deposits in 2004, with 10 institutions and $3.511 billion in deposits. As of June 2005, CUs accounted for 17.3% of all assets held by all financial institutions in the state, or some $1.660 billion. Banks, savings and loans, and savings banks collectively accounted for the remaining 82.7% or $7.960 billion in assets held.
The median percentage of past-due/nonaccrual loans to total loans was 1.08% as of fourth quarter 2005, down from 1.46% in 2004 and 2.01% in 2003. Regulation of Vermont's state-chartered banks and other state-chartered financial institutions is the responsibility of the Banking Division of the Department of Banking, Insurance, Securities and Healthcare Administration.
In 2004, there were 324,000 individual life insurance policies in force in Vermont with a total value of about $24.7 billion; total value for all categories of life insurance (individual, group, and credit) was over $38.5 billion. The average coverage amount is $76,400 per policy holder. Death benefits paid that year totaled $112.8 million.
In 2003, there were 16 property and casualty and 2 life and health insurance companies domiciled in the state. In 2003, direct premiums for property and casualty insurance totaled over $1 billion. That year, there were 2,969 flood insurance policies in force in the state, with a total value of $379 million.
In 2004, 52% of state residents held employment-based health insurance policies, 5% held individual policies, and 31% were covered under Medicare and Medicaid; 10% of residents were uninsured. In 2003, employee contributions for employment-based health coverage averaged at 18% for single coverage and 21% for family coverage. The state offers a six-month health benefits expansion program for small-firm employees in connection with the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA, 1986), a health insurance program for those who lose employment-based coverage due to termination or reduction of work hours.
In 2003, there were 460,571 auto insurance policies in effect for private passenger cars. Required minimum coverage includes bodily injury liability of up to $25,000 per individual and $50,000 for all persons injured in an accident, as well as property damage liability of $10,000. Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage are also required. In 2003, the average expenditure per vehicle for insurance coverage was $683.07.
There are no stock or commodity exchanges in Vermont. In 2005, there were 250 personal financial advisers employed in the state and 360 securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents. The state is home to 14 NASDAQ companies, and has incorporated 4 NYSE-listed companies: Bluegreen Corp., Central Vermont Public Services Corp., Chittenden Corp., and Green Mountain Power Company.
The budgets for two fiscal years are submitted by the governor to the General Assembly for approval during its biennial session. The fiscal year (FY) runs from 1 July to 30 June.
Fiscal year 2006 general funds were estimated at $1.1 billion for resources and $1.0 billion for expenditures. In fiscal year 2004, federal government grants to Vermont were $1.4 billion.
In the fiscal year 2007 federal budget, Vermont was slated to receive: $5.9 million in State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) funds to help the state provide health coverage to low-income, uninsured children who do not qualify for Medicaid. This funding is a 23% increase over fiscal year 2006; and $4.5 million for the HOME Investment Partnership Program to help Vermont fund a wide range of activities that build, buy, or rehabilitate affordable housing for rent or homeownership, or provide direct rental assistance to low-income people. This funding is an 11% increase over fiscal year 2006.
On 5 January 2006 the federal government released $100 million in emergency contingency funds targeted to the areas with the greatest need, including $680,000 for Vermont.
In 2005, Vermont collected $2,243 million in tax revenues or $3,600 per capita, which placed it first among the 50 states in per capita tax burden. The national average was $2,192 per capita. Property taxes accounted for 33.2% of the total, sales taxes 13.9%, selective sales taxes 20.8%, individual income taxes 22.3%, corporate income taxes 3.1%, and other taxes 6.7%.
As of 1 January 2006, Vermont had five individual income tax brackets ranging from 3.6% to 9.5%. The state taxes corporations at rates ranging from 7.0 to 8.9% depending on tax bracket.
In 2004, state and local property taxes amounted to $950,456,000 or $1,531 per capita. The per capita amount ranks the state eighth-highest nationally. Local governments collected $502,253,000 of the total and the state government $448,203,000.
Vermont taxes retail sales at a rate of 6%. In addition to the state tax, local taxes on retail sales can reach as much as 1%, making for a potential total tax on retail sales of 7%. Food purchased for consumption off-premises is tax exempt. The tax on cigarettes is 119 cents per pack, which ranks 15th among the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Vermont taxes gasoline at 20 cents per gallon. This is in addition to the 18.4 cents per gallon federal tax on gasoline.
According to the Tax Foundation, for every federal tax dollar sent to Washington in 2004, Vermont citizens received $1.12 in federal spending.
|Vermont—State Government Finances|
|(Dollar amounts in thousands. Per capita amounts in dollars.)|
|Abbreviations and symbols: - zero or rounds to zero; (NA) not available; (X) not applicable.|
|source: U.S. Census Bureau, Governments Division, 2004 Survey of State Government Finances, January 2006.|
|Individual income tax||429,817||692.14|
|Corporate income tax||62,228||100.21|
|Miscellaneous general revenue||847,269||559.21|
|Liquor store revenue||35,279||56.81|
|Insurance trust revenue||472,487||760.85|
|Insurance benefits and repayments||199,843||321.81|
|Assistance and subsidies||123,631||199.08|
|Interest on debt||139,061||223.93|
|Exhibit: Salaries and wages||623,120||1,003.41|
|General expenditures, by function:|
|Parks and recreation||12,714||20.47|
|Interest on general debt||139,061||223.98|
|Other and unallocable||282,524||454.95|
|Liquor store expenditure||34,882||56.17|
|Insurance trust expenditure||199,843||321.81|
|Debt at end of fiscal year||2,537,139||4,058.57|
|Cash and security holdings||5,237,854||8,434.55|
Incentives for industrial expansion include state and municipally financed industrial sites; state employment development and training funds; revenue bond financing; tax credits for investment in research and development and in capital equipment; loans and loan guarantees for construction and equipment; and financial incentives for locating plants in areas of high unemployment. There are also exemptions from inventory taxes and sales tax on new equipment and raw materials. Major economic development initiatives by the state include streamlining the environmental permit process, funding for workforce development, an aggressive business recruitment campaign, infrastructural improvements, increased financial incentives for business, and a phase out of the corporate income tax. In the mid-2000s, Vermont posted one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, and was engaged in creating a number of programs to help maintain and create new job opportunities for residents. One such program that has proven successful is the Vermont Department of Economic Development's Vermont Training Program (VEP), which encourages expansion among industrial companies by providing training through individually tailored programs: the state covers as much as 50% of the training costs.
The infant mortality rate in October 2005 was estimated at 5.3 per 1,000 live births. The birth rate in 2003 was 10.6 per 1,000 population, the lowest rate in the country. The abortion rate stood at 12.7 per 1,000 women in 2000. In 2003, about 90.6% of pregnant woman received prenatal care beginning in the first trimester. In 2004, approximately 85% of children received routine immunizations before the age of three.
The crude death rate in 2003 was 8.3 deaths per 1,000 population. As of 2002, the death rates for major causes of death (per 100,000 resident population) were: heart disease, 222.2; cancer, 198.5; cerebrovascular diseases, 54.3; chronic lower respiratory diseases, 44.8; and diabetes, 28.2. The mortality rate from HIV infection was unavailable that year. In 2004, the reported AIDS case rate was at about 2.7 per 100,000 population, one of the lowest rate in the nation. In 2002, about 52.1% of the population was considered overweight or obese. As of 2004, about 19.9% of state residents were smokers.
In 2003, Vermont had 14 community hospitals with about 1,500 beds. There were about 52,000 patient admissions that year and 2.2 million outpatient visits. The average daily inpatient census was about 900 patients. The average cost per day for hospital care was $1,148. Also in 2003, there were about 43 certified nursing facilities in the state with 3,582 beds and an overall occupancy rate of about 92.7%. In 2004, it was estimated that about 74.3% of all state residents had received some type of dental care within the year. Vermont had 363 physicians per 100,000 resident population in 2004 and 892 nurses per 100,000 in 2005. In 2004, there were a total of 348 dentists in the state.
About 26% of state residents were enrolled in Medicaid programs in 2003; 15% were enrolled in Medicare programs in 2004. Approximately 10% of the state population was uninsured in 2004. In 2003, state health care expenditures totaled $847,000.
In 2004, about 23,000 people received unemployment benefits, with the average weekly unemployment benefit at $256. In fiscal year 2005, the estimated average monthly participation in the food stamp program included about 45,218 persons (22,355 households); the average monthly benefit was about $82.93 per person. That year, the total of benefits paid through the state for the food stamp program was about $44.9 million.
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the system of federal welfare assistance that officially replaced Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) in 1997, was reautho-rized through the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005. TANF is funded through federal block grants that are divided among the states based on an equation involving the number of recipients in each state. Vermont's TANF cash assistance program is called Aid to Needy Families with Children (ANFC); the work program is called Reach Up. In 2004, the state program had 12,000 recipients; state and federal expenditures on this TANF program totaled $42 million in fiscal year 2003.
In December 2004, Social Security benefits were paid to 110,180 Vermont residents. This number included 70,220 retired workers, 10,040 widows and widowers, 15,210 disabled workers, 5,710 spouses, and 9,000 children. Social Security beneficiaries represented 17.7% of the total state population and 95.9% of the state's population age 65 and older. Retired workers received an average monthly payment of $945; widows and widowers, $897; disabled workers, $848; and spouses, $452. Payments for children of retired workers averaged $455 per month; children of deceased workers, $640; and children of disabled workers, $243. Federal Supplemental Security Income payments in December 2004 went to 12,915 Vermont residents, averaging $387 a month.
As rustic farmhouses gradually disappear, modern units (many of them vacation homes for Vermonters and out-of-staters) are being built to replace them. In 2004, there were an estimated 304,291 housing units in Vermont (one of the lowest housing stocks in the country), 249,590 of which were occupied; 73.3% were owner-occupied. About 66.3% of all units were single-family, detached homes. About 30% of all housing was built in 1939 or earlier. Fuel oil was the most common energy source for heating. It was estimated that 6,112 units lacked telephone service, 1,634 lacked complete plumbing facilities, and 1,495 lacked complete kitchen facilities. The average household had 2.41 members.
In 2004, 3,600 new privately owned housing units were authorized for construction. The median home value was $154,318. The median monthly cost for mortgage owners was $1,174. Renters paid a median of $674 per month. In 2006, the state received over $7.4 million in community development block grants from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
In 2004, 90.8% of Vermont residents age 25 and older were high school graduates. Some 34.2% had obtained a bachelor's degree or higher, surpassing the national average of 26%.
The total enrollment for fall 2002 in Vermont's public schools stood at 100,000. Of these, 68,000 attended schools from kindergarten through grade eight, and 32,000 attended high school. Approximately 95.9% of the students were white, 1.2% were black, 0.8% were Hispanic, 1.5% were Asian/Pacific Islander, and 0.6% were American Indian/Alaskan Native. Total enrollment was estimated at 98,000 in fall 2003 and expected to be 85,000 by fall 2014, a decline of 15.2% during the period 2002–14. Expenditures for public education in 2003/04 were estimated at $1.19 billion or $11,128 per student, the fourth-highest among the 50 states. There were 12,218 students enrolled in 123 private schools. Since 1969, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) has tested public school students nationwide. The resulting report, The Nation's Report Card, stated that in 2005, eighth graders in Vermont scored 287 out of 500 in mathematics compared with the national average of 278.
As of fall 2002, there were 36,537 students enrolled in college or graduate school; minority students comprised 6.2% of total post-secondary enrollment. In 2005 Vermont had 27 degree-granting institutions. The state college system includes colleges at Castle-ton, Johnson, and Lyndonville, a technical college at Randolph Center, and the Community College of Vermont system with 12 branch campuses. The University of Vermont (Burlington) is a state-supported institution combining features of both a private and a state facility. Founded in 1791, it is the oldest higher educational institution in the state.
Notable private institutions include Bennington College, Champlain College (Burlington), Landmark College (Putney) serving students with ADHD and learning disabilities, Marlboro College (Marlboro), and Norwich University (Northfield), the oldest private military college in the United States. The School for International Training (Brattleboro) is the academic branch of the Experiment in International Living, a student exchange program. Other notable institutions include St. Michael's College (Winooski) and Trinity College (Burlington).
The Vermont Student Assistance Corporation offers scholarships, incentive grants, and guaranteed loans for eligible Vermont students.
The Vermont Arts Council was founded in 1964. In 2005, the Arts Council and other Vermont arts organizations received 15 grants totaling $873,800 from the National Endowment for the Arts. The Vermont Humanities Council (VHC), founded in 1974, supports a number of literacy and history-related programs, as well as sponsors annual Humanities Camps at schools throughout the state. As of 2005 VHC offered literacy programs that included "Connections," a program geared towards teen parents and new adult readers and "Never Too Early," a program designed to teach childcare providers and parents techniques to stimulate reading. In 2005, the National Endowment for the Humanities contributed $1,180,125 for 15 state programs.
The Vermont State Crafts Centers at Frog Hollow (Middle-bury), Burlington, and Manchester display the works of Vermont artisans. The Vermont Symphony Orchestra, in Burlington, makes extensive statewide tours including visits to several schools to promote music education. During the 2004/05 season the orchestra reached approximately 27,000 students within 193 schools. Marlboro College is the home of the summer Marlboro Music Festival, co-founded by famed pianist Rudolf Serkin, who directed the festival from 1952 to 1992. Among the summer theaters in the state are those at Dorset and Weston and the University of Vermont Shakespeare Festival. The Middlebury College Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, founded in 1926, meets each August in Ripton. The conference expected to host over 200 writers in 2006.
The Flynn Center for the Performing Arts in Burlington serves as a major performance center for the area. It is home to the Lyric Theater Company, the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, the Vermont Stage Company, and the Burlington Discover Jazz Festival. In 2005, the Flynn Center celebrated 75 years of history and 25 years of performance. Other musical performance and education venues include the Vermont Jazz Center in Brattleboro and the Vergennes Opera House, which presents concerts, films, dance, and theater presentations, and various literary readings, as well as operas.
LIBRARIES AND MUSEUMS
In June 2001, Vermont had 188 public library systems, with a total of 190 libraries, of which there were three branches. For that same year, the state's public libraries held 2,731,000 volumes of books and serial publications, and had a combined circulation of 3,842,000. The system also had 78,000 audio and 655,000 video items, 3,000 electronic format items (CD-ROMs, magnetic tapes, and disks), and eight bookmobiles. The largest academic library was at the University of Vermont, with a book stock of 1,112,121, and 4,808 periodical subscriptions. In fiscal year 2001, operating income for the state's public library system totaled $13,408,000 and included $9,323,000 from local sources and $40,000 from state sources. Operating expenditures that year came to $13,921,000 of which 64.8% was spent on staff, and 13.9% on the collection.
Vermont has 89 museums and more than 65 historic sites. Among them are the Bennington Museum, with its collection of Early American glass, pottery, furniture, and Grandma Moses paintings, and the Art Gallery-St. Johnsbury Athenaeum, featuring 19th-century American artists. The Shelburne Museum, housed in restored Early American buildings, contains collections of American primitives and Indian artifacts. The Vermont Museum, in Montpelier, features historical exhibits concerning Indians, the Revolutionary War, rural life, and railroads and industry. Old Constitution House in Windsor offers exhibits on Vermont history.
In 2004, about 95.9% of all occupied homes had telephones. In 2003, 65.5% of Vermont households had a computer and 58.1% had Internet access. By June 2005, there were 82,259 high-speed lines in Vermont, 76,895 residential and 5,364 for business. There were 5 major AM and 19 major FM radio stations and seven television stations in operation in 2005.
In 2005, there were eight daily papers and three Sunday papers. A leading daily in 2005 was the Burlington Free Press (48,524 mornings, 56,850 Sundays). Vermont Life magazine founded in 1946 is published quarterly. The paid circulation in 2005 was 57,244. Vermont Life is considered one of America's leading regional magazines, winning over 95 national and international magazine awards since 1990.
In 2006, there were over 1,590 nonprofit organizations registered within the state, of which about 1,179 were registered as charitable, educational, or religious organizations.
Associations headquartered in Vermont largely reflect the state's agricultural interests. Among these are the National Association for Gardening, the American Chestnut Foundation, the Holstein Association USA, the Composting Association of Vermont, and the Vermont Maple Industry Council, and the International Maple Syrup Institute. Professional associations are available for many fields. The Vermont Arts Council is located in Montpelier. There are several local arts organizations and historical societies as well. The Bread Loaf Writers Conference, based at Middlebury College, sponsors educational programs that attract writers from across the country.
TOURISM, TRAVEL, AND RECREATION
With the building of the first ski slopes in the 1930s (Woodstock claims the first ski area in the United States) and the development of modern highways, tourism became a major industry in Vermont. In 2001, direct spending from 13.9 million visitors totaled $2.84 billion, or 13% of the entire Vermont economy. Over 30% of all trips were day trips. The tourism and travel industry supports 63,279 jobs (21% of all jobs in the state.
Summer and fall are the most popular seasons for visitors. Fall foliage trips account for 28% of all travel. In the winter, the state's ski areas offer some of the finest skiing in the East. About 11,000 Vermonters work at a Vermont ski area. There are 52 state parks and over 100 campgrounds in the state. Historical sites, including several Revolutionary War battlefields, are popular attractions and shopping, particularly for Vermont-made products such as maple syrup, is a major activity for all visitors. Vermont has tours of the maple syrup industry. Bennington is the site of the Bennington Battle Monument and President Calvin Coolidge's homestead is in Plymouth. Vermont hosts an annual Mozart Festival from mid-July to mid-August.
Vermont has no major professional sports teams. A single-A minor league baseball team, the Vermont Lake Monsters, plays in Burlington. Skiing is, perhaps, the most popular participation sport, and Vermont ski areas have hosted national and international ski competitions in both Alpine and Nordic events. World Cup races have been run at Stratton Mountain, and the national cross-country championships have been held near Putney. Famous skiers Billy Kidd and Andrea Mead Lawrence, both Olympic medalists, grew up in Vermont and trained in the state.
Two US presidents, both of whom assumed office upon the death of their predecessors, were born in Vermont. Chester Alan Arthur (1829–86) became the 21st president after James A. Garfield's assassination in 1881 and finished his term. A machine politician, Arthur became a civil-service reformer in the White House. Calvin Coolidge (1872–1933), 28th president, was born in Plymouth Notch but pursued a political career in Massachusetts. Elected vice president in 1920, he became president on the death of Warren G. Harding in 1923 and was elected to a full term in 1924.
Other federal officeholders have included Matthew Lyon (1750–1822), a US representative imprisoned under the Sedition Act and reelected from a Vergennes jail; Jacob Collamer (1791–1865), who, after serving three terms in the US House, was US postmaster general and then a US senator; Justin Smith Morrill (1810–98), US representative and senator who sponsored the Morrill tariff in 1861 and the Land Grant College Act in 1862; Levi Parsons Morton (1824–1920), Benjamin Harrison's vice president from 1889 to 1893; George Franklin Edmunds (1828–1919), a US senator who helped draft the Sherman Antitrust Act; Redfield Proctor (1831–1908), secretary of war, US senator, state governor, and the found-er of a marble company; John Garibaldi Sargent. (1860–1939), Coolidge's attorney general; Warren Robinson Austin (1877–1963), US senator and head of the US delegation to the UN; and George David Aiken (1892–1984), US senator from 1941 to 1977.
Important state leaders were Thomas Chittenden (1730–97), leader of the Vermont republic and the state's first governor; Ethan Allen (1738–89), a frontier folk hero, leader of the Green Mountain Boys, and presenter of Vermont's claim to independence to the US Congress in 1778; Ira Allen (1751–1814), the brother of Ethan, who led the fight for statehood; Cornelius Peter Van Ness (b.New York, 1782–1852), who served first as Vermont chief justice and then as governor; and Erastus Fairbanks (1792–1864), a governor and railroad promoter.
Vermont's many businessmen and inventors include Thaddeus Fairbanks (1796–1886), inventor of the platform scale; Thomas Davenport (1802–51), inventor of the electric motor; plow and tractor manufacturer John Deere (1804–86); Elisha G. Otis (1811–61), inventor of a steam elevator and elevator safety devices; and Horace Wells (1815–48), inventor of laughing gas. Educator John Dewey (1859–1952) was born in Burlington. Donald James Cram (1919–2001), a professor of chemistry at the University of California at Los Angeles, was awarded a Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1987.
Robert Frost (b.California, 1874–1963) maintained a summer home near Ripton, where he helped found Middlebury College's Bread Loaf Writers' Conference. He was named poet laureate of Vermont in 1961. In 1992, Louise Gluck became the first Vermont woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for poetry. A famous Vermont performer is crooner and orchestra leader Rudy Vallee (Hubert Prior Rudy Vallee, 1901–1986).
Council of State Governments. The Book of the States, 2006 Edition. Lexington, Ky.: Council of State Governments, 2006.
Davis, Allen Freeman. Postcards from Vermont: A Social History, 1905–1945. Hanover, N.H.: University Press of New England, 2002.
Husher, Helen. Off the Leash: Subversive Journeys Around Vermont. Woodstock, Vt.: Countryman Press, 1999.
Klyza, Christopher McGrory, and Stephen C. Trombulak. The Story of Vermont: A Natural and Cultural History. Hanover, N.H.: University Press of New England, 1999.
Sherman, Michael. Freedom and Unity: A History of Vermont. Barre: Vermont Historical Society, 2004.
――――――, and Jennie Versteeg (eds.). We Vermonters: Perspectives on the Past. Montpelier: Vermont Historical Society, 1992.
Sletcher, Michael (ed.). New England. Vol. 4 in The Greenwood Encyclopedia of American Regional Cultures. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2004.
US Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration, US Census Bureau. Vermont, 2000. Summary Social, Economic, and Housing Characteristics: 2000 Census of Population and Housing. Washington, D.C.: US Government Printing Office, 2003.
COPYRIGHT 2007 Cengage Learning
VERMONT. What we now know as Vermont is believed to have had an Abenaki Indian presence since 9000 b.c., peaking in population during the sixteenth century. Even before direct contact with Europeans, however, Vermont's inhabitants, western Abenakis, were depleted through wars with the Iroquois and by pathogens introduced by Europeans and transmitted through eastern Abenakis from Canada. In 1609, the French explorer Samuel de Champlain became the first European to reconnoiter Vermont, sailing up the lake that bears his name and initiating an alliance between the French and the Abenakis against the English and the Iroquois Confederacy that persisted until the French were driven from North America in 1763.
During that time the struggle for North America kept the region in turmoil, and Vermont attracted few European settlers. The Abenakis, augmented by a southern New England diaspora after King Philip's War (1675–1677), joined with the French to raid southern New England settlements in the Connecticut River valley during the colonial wars. In 1724, to protect settlers from these attacks, Massachusetts erected Fort Dummer, the first British settlement in Vermont, situated near present-day Brattleboro and west of the Connecticut River. The French were simultaneously occupying the Lake Champlain valley, building forts from Isle La Motte (1666) south to Ticonderoga (1755), but, focusing on the fur trade, they made relatively little effort at colonization. By 1754, New France numbered 75,000 European settlers contrasted with 1.5 million in British America.
Land Disputes and the Revolutionary Era
The French and Indian War (1754–1763), the North American counterpart to the Seven Years' War in Europe, ended with a British victory, and what was to become Vermont fell totally under British sovereignty. The region, inaccurately mapped and sparsely settled, was plagued with conflicting charters and overlapping land claims. Royal decrees at times compounded the confusion. Shortly after a boundary dispute between Massachusetts and New Hampshire was resolved in New Hampshire's favor, New Hampshire was ordered to maintain Fort Dummer or have it restored to Massachusetts jurisdiction. Seizing upon this as having established New Hampshire's border west of the Connecticut River, New Hampshire governor Benning Wentworth claimed his province's boundary extended to Lake Champlain and in 1750 issued a grant for the town of Bennington at the westernmost edge of his claim. At the outbreak of the French and Indian War he had chartered fifteen additional towns, and in 1759, after the French were driven from the Champlain valley, he resumed issuing New Hampshire patents until by 1763 they totaled 138. Meanwhile New York Province, brandishing a 1664 grant by King Charles II to his brother the Duke of York (later James II), maintained that its eastern border extended to the Connecticut River and began issuing patents more remunerative to the crown and occasionally overlapping New Hampshire's.
In 1764 a king's order in council ruled the New York border to be the west bank of the Connecticut River, placing all of modern-day Vermont under New York jurisdiction. New Hampshire titleholders interpreted "to be" to mean from the date of the order in council, thus validating land titles issued before 1764. New York contended the ruling was retroactive and attempted to eject settlers on New Hampshire grants. In 1770 the issue was argued before an Albany County court at which Ethan Allen served as agent for the Wentworth titleholders. The court dismissed New Hampshire claims, and the Wentworth title-holders responded with the Green Mountain Boys, unofficial military units led by Ethan Allen, Seth Warner, and others from western Vermont that used force and intimidation to frustrate New York's efforts at ejection. Many of the Green Mountain Boys held heavy investments in New Hampshire titles. East of the Green Mountains, where smaller landholders dominated, title disputes were resolved through payment to New York of reconfirmation fees, but other issues, particularly high court costs and debt proceedings, precipitated a March 1775 courthouse riot in Westminster that left two dead and collapsed New York authority in the Connecticut Valley.
In April, with Concord and Lexington sparking the American Revolution, New York lost any chance of reclaiming Vermont, especially when Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys, along with Benedict Arnold, stormed the British Fort Ticonderoga in New York that May, capturing cannon for the Continental army in Boston and closing the Champlain-Hudson corridor to invasion
from Canada until it was recaptured by the British. Shortly afterward the Continental Congress authorized an army regiment of Green Mountain Rangers that fought under the command of Seth Warner. In January 1777 representatives from New Hampshire Grant towns declared their independence from New York and Great Britain and in July drafted a constitution, scheduled elections, and established a government for the state of New Connecticut (estimated population 10,000), later renamed Vermont.
Despite its assertions of independence, Vermont's existence was in immediate jeopardy. That July, British general John Burgoyne, leading an army from Canada to the Hudson River, recaptured Fort Ticonderoga and sent Vermont settlers scurrying south. A rear guard detachment commanded by Seth Warner to cover the retreat from Ticonderoga was defeated at Hubbardton (the only Revolutionary War battle fought in Vermont), but in August the tide turned. New Hampshire and Vermont troops under General John Stark defeated a British force near Bennington. In September, Burgoyne surrendered his army at the Battle of Saratoga (see Saratoga Campaign).
New York's opposition to Vermont's independence and the failure of Congress to admit it as a state until 1791 induced Vermont to assume initiatives associated with a sovereign nation, most notably coining its own currency and maintaining a foreign policy. The Haldimand Negotiations (1781) were dealings with the governor-general of Canada that involved Vermont's return to the British empire in return for British promises not to invade Vermont or New York. The negotiations collapsed after General Cornwallis' defeat at Yorktown. They are still debated as either sincere negotiations or ploys by Vermont to obtain military security. Another Vermont initiative was to annex amenable border towns in western New Hampshire and eastern New York, so-called east and west unions, which aroused considerable New Hampshire, New York, and congressional displeasure. Vermont relinquished control of the towns, anticipating this would promote admission into the United States, but it was not until 4 March 1791, after Vermont "bought itself free" by paying New York $30,000 to settle disputed land titles, that it was admitted as the fourteenth state.
Statehood and Nineteenth-Century Vermont
Statehood marked the eclipse of Vermont's first generation of leaders. Thomas Chittenden, who, save for one year had served as governor from 1778, continued to serve until 1797, but his political allies were succeeded by younger men, legally trained Revolutionary War veterans and more recent settlers who poured into the state from southern New England. The census of 1791 recorded a population of 85,341 and the 1810 census 217,895. The War of 1812 put an end to Vermont's prosperity and population growth. It was the first state without an ocean port, and western Vermont was dependent upon trade with Canada down Lake Champlain. The suspension of this trade in 1808 and then by the war stimulated popular support for smuggling and political opposition to the party of Jefferson as well as the war itself. East of the Green Mountains, the Connecticut River was the principal commercial artery, linking Vermont with southern New England, but the war was no more popular in that area.
A modest prosperity was restored by the mid 1820s after the American consul in Lisbon returned to Vermont with 200 head of merino sheep. By 1840 the state boasted almost 1,690,000 merinos and preeminence among wool-producing states. Sheep grazing, which was possible on rocky uplands and less labor intensive than most other forms of agriculture, stimulated land clearing and emigration. It declined after 1840, the victim of western competition and the lowering of the protective tariff, and dairying began a steady growth. Before 1840 daughters of farm families frequently left the homesteads to work in textile mills, some as far away as New Hampshire or Massachusetts, never to return. After 1840 immigrants increasingly staffed textile mills in Vermont and elsewhere.
The Vermont economy had also been transformed by the Champlain-Hudson cut off to the Erie Canal that opened in 1823. Promoted for its potential to provide access to a wider market for Vermont produce, it instead opened Vermont to western wheat and helped redirect the state's economy toward sheep farming, textile mills, and dairying. The Champlain-Hudson cutoff also loosened western Vermont's ties to Canada and, by reducing the cost and difficulty of immigration, opened the West for settlers from Vermont.
Railroads reached Vermont in 1848, and by 1855 there were over 500 miles of track. Designed to carry freight between Atlantic ports and the Great Lakes rather than to serve Vermont, the railroads nonetheless had a tremendous impact on the state and were the largest Vermont enterprises until the twentieth century. Thousands of Irish entered the state as construction workers, and, along with French-Canadians who worked in textile mills and on farms, constituted almost the entire immigrant population. These new immigrants, mostly Catholic, were often viewed by the almost exclusively Protestant natives as threatening American values. Their apprehensions were heightened in 1853 when the Burlington Catholic Diocese was established.
Economic and demographic disruptions spawned ferment. Vermont became virulently anti-Masonic, electing an Anti-Masonic Party governor and in 1832 becoming the only state to vote for the Anti-Mason presidential candidate (see Anti-Masonic Movements). By 1836 the Anti-Masons gave way to the newly formed Whig Party, and workingmen's associations thrived alongside religious revivals that included Millerites, whose founder was sometime Poultney resident William Miller, and John Humphrey Noyes's Perfectionist Society, founded in Putney. Mormon founders Joseph Smith and Brigham Young were Vermont natives. Temperance and antislavery, both church-rooted movements, had widespread appeal. Temperance societies dated from the 1820s, and in 1853 the state banned the manufacture and sale of liquor by a narrow vote. Not always rigidly enforced, it remained law until 1902. Antislavery enjoyed even broader support. Vermonters, evincing pride that their 1777 constitution was the first to prohibit slavery and provide universal male suffrage, championed congressional antislavery resolutions, state acts to annul fugitive slave laws, and gave rise to the Liberty Party and then the Free Soil Party, which along with the feeble Democratic Party were able to deny the Whigs popular majorities and left the election of governor to the legislature.
In 1854 state government was paralyzed by party fractionalization after passage of the nationally divisive Kansas-Nebraska Act, occurring as it did on the heels of the temperance contest and the 1853 election of a Democratic governor by a legislative coalition of Free Soilers and Democrats. In July 1854, Whigs and Free Soilers convened, agreed upon a common platform and slate of candidates, referred to themselves as Republicans, won a large popular majority, and in 1856 and 1860 led the nation in support of Republican presidential candidates. Vermont's overwhelming support for Lincoln and the Union cause accommodated a wide range of attitudes toward slavery along with an anti-southern bias. In addition to resenting such pro-southern measures as the Kansas-Nebraska Act, Vermonters blamed southern opposition for their failure to obtain a higher tariff and national banking legislation. What most united Vermonters, however, was their support for the Union.
Almost 35,000, one of four adult males, served in the army during the Civil War, and casualty rates were among the highest of any state. The war brought economic prosperity while shifting much of the burden of farm work and financial management to women. In some instances war casualties cost towns almost their entire male populations. The northernmost action of the war occurred in October 1864 when Confederate soldiers crossed the Canadian border to rob St. Albans banks. Although the St. Albans raid provoked heated diplomatic negotiation between Britain, Canada, and the United States, it had no impact on the war.
After the war, the Republican Party dominated Vermont politics. Having saved the Union and enacted a protective tariff and national banking act with critical support from Congressman Justin Morrill, Republicanism became a civic religion, escaping meaningful challenge until the second half of the twentieth century. The state frequently returned over 200 Republicans to a Vermont house (with 246 members) and all 30 of its state senators. Agriculture remained the state's major economic pursuit, with dairy farming shaping its landscape. With the advent of the refrigerated railway car, shipping cream, butter, and cheese gave way to the more lucrative marketing of fresh milk. Sustained by a treaty with Canada, the lumber industry built Burlington into one of the busiest inland ports in the nation. The machine-tool industry in the Connecticut River valley, the platform-scale works in St. Johnsbury, independent marble companies in the Rutland area (consolidated into the Vermont Marble Company by Redfield Proctor), and independent Barre granite operations along with the railroads constituted the bulk of Vermont industry.
Vermont governors, who invariably served a single two-year term, were almost always business-oriented industrialists, some of whom presided over reform administrations. Vermont's political agenda, however, was usually dominated by the legislature. With one representative from each town irrespective of population, farmers were often a legislative majority and always the largest occupational category despite declining numbers. Vermont farms could seldom support large families, and emigration was so common that by 1860 over 40 percent of native-born Vermonters lived in other states. European immigration barely kept the population constant, and while the larger communities gained population, the smaller communities declined to where it became increasingly difficult to amass the personnel and other resources to meet municipal obligations. Soon after the Civil War the legislature began voting to shift expenditures from towns to the state on a need basis. From 1890 until 1931, when a state income tax was enacted, state levies on town grand lists were applied to bolster educational, welfare, and highway resources among the poorer communities.
The Twentieth Century
Efforts to stimulate the state economy through tourism, initially undertaken by the railroads, became a government operation. As the railroad gave way to the automobile, Vermont's transportation network proved inadequate for either tourism or its internal needs. In the fall of 1927 the state suffered a disastrous flood that cost lives, wiped out homes and industrial sites, and destroyed much of the state's transportation network. Within weeks a recovery effort, planned and financed with federal support, ushered Vermont into the era of hard-surfaced roads and state debt to support improvements. Even the Great Depression, however, could not seduce Vermont from its Republican Party allegiance, although the state was an enthusiastic participant in many New Deal programs. Until 1958, Democratic challenges were usually ceremonial. The real contests were Republican primaries.
The first signs of recovery from the Great Depression appeared in 1939 in the machine-tool industry that created a boom in the Springfield area never achieved in the rest of the state, although World War II brought prosperity to most sectors of the economy along with an increased presence of organized labor among both blue-and white-collar workers. There were 1,200 killed or missing in action among the 30,000 men and women who served in the military, and returning veterans contributed mightily to Colonel Ernest Gibson's upset of the more conservative candidate in the 1946 Republican gubernatorial primary. Although more traditional Republican governors succeeded Gibson in office, the state retained his policy of implementing state and federal welfare, education, and construction programs. This policy was accelerated with the election of a Democratic governor, Philip Hoff, in 1962, and the implementation of Great Society initiatives.
In 1965 the Vermont legislature convened under court reapportionment orders. The house was reapportioned down from 246 to 150 delegates with districts determined by population. (Previously, the twenty-two largest cities and towns had housed over half the state's population and paid 64 percent of the state's income tax and 50 percent of the property tax, but elected only 9 percent of the house members.) The senate was kept at 30 members, but county lines were no longer inviolate. Without reapportionment it is unlikely Republicans would ever have lost control of the legislature. Since Hoff, the governor'soffice has alternated between parties, and in 1984, Democrats elected Madeleine Kunin, the state's first female governor. In 1964 it cast its electoral votes for a Democratic presidential candidate for the first time, and since 1992 it has been regularly in the Democratic column. Yet the state has also demonstrated a tolerance for mavericks. In 2000, Vermont's congressional delegation was made up of one Democrat senator, one Republican senator, and one Independent House member. In 2001, Senator James Jeffords left the Republican Party to become an independent, throwing the control of the Senate to the Democrats while attaining favorable poll ratings. Elections during this period have been dogged by controversy over Vermont Supreme Court decisions leading to legislation equalizing educational resources statewide and providing same-sex couples rights similar to those possessed by married couples.
The latter, labeled the Civil Union Act (2000), was the first of its kind in the nation, and observers attributed its passage to the state's evolving demography and economy. Native-owned industries have been absorbed into conglomerates, and IBM, which moved into the state in 1957, has become Vermont's largest private employer. Economic development attracted additional growth. In 2000, Vermont's population stood at 608,827, with two thirds of the growth since 1830 occurring after 1960. The interstate highway system brought Vermont to within a few hours of over 40 million urban dwellers. Tourism grew rapidly. Skiing spread from its 1930s roots to mountains and hillsides irrespective of environmental degradation or the ability of the local government to provide essential services. In 1970, Republican Governor Deane Davis gained approval of Act 250 to mandate permits requiring developers to prove the project's ecological soundness. Despite flaws and opposition, Act 250 and subsequent modifications have proven salutary.
A related effort has been made to retain Vermont's pastoral landscape of rapidly disappearing dairy farms. From 1993 to 2000 the number of dairy farms decreased from 2,500 to 1,700, with most of the decrease among farms of fewer than 100 cows. Yet because average production rose to 17,000 pounds of milk per cow per year, production increased. Some farmers participated in a 1986 federal program to curb overproduction by selling their herds to the federal government and subsequently selling their land to developers. In 1993 the National Trust for Historic Preservation designated the entire state an "endangered place." Nonetheless, farmland preservation projects that utilize differential tax rates and conservation trusts have been operating with some success.
With a population less than 609,000, Vermont is the second-smallest state in the nation, boasting the least-populated state capital and the smallest biggest city of any state. With a larger percentage of its population living in communities of fewer than 2,500 than any other state, it lays claim to being the most rural.
Albers, Jan. Hands on the Land: A History of the Vermont Landscape. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2000.
Anderson, Elin L. We Americans: A Study of Cleavage in an American City. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1937. Reprint, New York: Russell and Russell, 1967. Burlington in the 1930s.
Bassett, T. D. Seymour. The Growing Edge: Vermont Villages, 1840–1880. Montpelier: Vermont Historical Society, 1992.
Bellesiles, Michael A. Revolutionary Outlaws: Ethan Allen and the Struggle for Independence on the Early American Frontier. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1993.
Bryan, Frank M. Yankee Politics in Rural Vermont. Hanover, N.H.: University Press of New England, 1974.
Gillies, Paul S., and D. Gregory Sanford, eds. Records of the Council of Censors of the State of Vermont. Montpelier: Secretary of State, 1991.
Graffagnino, J. Kevin, Samuel B. Hand, and Gene Sessions, eds. Vermont Voices, 1609 Through the 1990s: A Documentary History of the Green Mountain State. Montpelier: Vermont Historical Society, 1999.
Kunin, Madeleine. Living a Political Life. New York: Knopf, 1994.
Ludlum, David M. Social Ferment in Vermont, 1790–1850. New York: Columbia University Press, 1939. Reprint, New York: AMS Press, 1966.
Roth, Randolph A. The Democratic Dilemma: Religion, Reform, and the Social Order in the Connecticut River Valley of Vermont, 1791–1850. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1987.
Shalhope, Robert E. Bennington and the Green Mountain Boys: The Emergence of Liberal Democracy in Vermont, 1760–1850. Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996.
Sherman, Michael, ed. Vermont State Government Since 1965. Burlington: Center for Research on Vermont and Snelling Center for Government, 1999.
COPYRIGHT 2003 The Gale Group Inc.
Vermont (vərmŏnt´) [Fr.,=green mountain], New England state of the NE United States. It is bordered by New Hampshire, across the Connecticut River (E), Massachusetts (S), New York, with Lake Champlain forming almost half the border (W), and the Canadian province of Quebec (N).
Facts and Figures
Area, 9,609 sq mi (24,887 sq km). Pop. (2010) 625,741, a 2.8% increase since the 2000 census. Capital, Montpelier. Largest city, Burlington. Statehood, Mar. 4, 1791 (14th state). Highest pt., Mt. Mansfield, 4,393 ft (1,340 m); lowest pt., Lake Champlain, 95 ft (29 m). Nickname, Green Mountain State. Motto, Freedom and Unity. State bird, hermit thrush. State flower, red clover. State tree, sugar maple. Abbr., Vt.; VT
The forested Green Mts. constitute the dominant physiographic feature of Vermont. They consist of at least four distinct groups, all traversing the state in a generally north-south direction. Largest and most important are the Green Mts. proper, which extend down the center of the state from the Canadian border to the Massachusetts line, rising to Vermont's highest peak, Mt. Mansfield (4,393 ft/1,339 m). The Taconic Mts., occupying the southwestern portion of the state, contain Vermont's important marble deposits. East of the Green Mts. and extending from the Canadian border to somewhat below the middle of the state are the Granite Hills, so called because of their valuable stone. The fourth group, sometimes called the Red Sandrock Hills, extends along the Vermont shore of Lake Champlain. In E Vermont there are also isolated peaks or monadnocks not connected with the principal ranges.
The rivers of Vermont (the only completely inland state of New England) flow either into the Connecticut River or into Lake Champlain. The Winooski rises east of the Green Mts. and cuts directly through them to Lake Champlain. Grand Isle county, comprising several islands and a peninsula jutting down into Lake Champlain from Canada, is connected to Vermont proper by causeways.
Vermont has a short summer and a humid, continental climate, with abundant rainfall and a growing season that varies from 120 days in the Connecticut valley to 150 in the Lake Champlain region. Winter brings heavy snows, which usually cover the ground for at least three full months, but because the state's good roads are almost always kept clear, this season no longer forces complete isolation on rural communities. With its rugged terrain, much of it still heavily wooded, Vermont has limited areas of arable land, but the state is well suited to grazing (the Justin Morgan breed of horses was developed there).
Every summer thousands of vacationers are drawn by the scenic mountains and the picturesque New England villages, while climbers attempt the many accessible peaks and hikers take on the Long Trail that runs the length of the state along the Green Mt. ridge. In the winter thousands of skiers flock to the slopes at Mad River Glen, Bromley, Stowe, Stratton, and elsewhere. Montpelier is the capital, Burlington the largest city.
Dairy farming has long been dominant in Vermont agriculture, although it has declined somewhat. Apples, cheese, maple syrup, and greenhouse and nursery products are important. The state's most valuable mineral resources are stone, asbestos, sand and gravel, and talc. In the areas around Rutland and Proctor is a noted marble industry, and at Barre the famous Vermont granite is quarried and processed.
The manufacture of nonelectric machinery, machine tools, and precision instruments is important. The textile industry, once dominant in Burlington, has declined, but the manufacture of computer components, food products, pulp and paper, and plastics has helped to compensate for this loss. Cottage industries have long thrived in Vermont, making a variety of products from knitwear to ice cream, while captive insurance companies (insurance companies owned by the companies they insure) are more recent and growing industry. Tourism is also vitally important to the state economy.
Government, Politics, and Higher Education
Vermont is governed under a constitution adopted in 1793. The state legislature, called the general assembly, consists of a senate with 30 members and a house of representatives with 150 members, all elected to two-year terms. The governor is elected for a two-year term. In 2003, Jim Douglas, a Republican, succeeded Democrat Howard Dean, who retired after serving since 1991. Douglas was reelected in 2004, 2006, and 2008. In 2011, Democrat Peter Shumlin was elected to the post; he was reelected in 2012 and 2015. Vermont sends two senators and one representative to the U.S. Congress and has three electoral votes.
The state's traditional devotion to the Republican party was evidenced in the presidential elections of 1912 and 1936, when Vermont was one of only two states in the union that voted Republican. This has changed, however, as the state's liberalism in cultural and environmental matters has turned it away from the Republican party. Since 1991, the socialist former mayor of Burlington, Bernard Sanders (who runs as an independent), has represented Vermont in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Among Vermont's institutions of higher education are Bennington College, at Bennington; Middlebury College, at Middlebury; Marlboro College, at Marlboro; Norwich Univ., at Northfield; the School for International Training, at Brattleboro; and the Univ. of Vermont, at Burlington.
The first European known to have entered the area that is now Vermont was Samuel de Champlain, who, after beginning the colonization of Quebec, journeyed south with a Huron war party in 1609 to the beautiful lake to which he gave his name. The French did not attempt any permanent settlement until 1666, when they built a fort and a shrine to Ste Anne on the Isle La Motte in Lake Champlain. However, this and later French settlements were abandoned, and until well into the 18th cent. the region was something of a no-man's-land.
Benning Wentworth and the New Hampshire Grants
Fort Dummer, built (1724) by the English near the site of Brattleboro, is considered the first permanent settlement in what is now Vermont. However, Vermont's history may be said to have really begun in 1741, when Benning Wentworth became royal governor of New Hampshire. According to his commission New Hampshire extended west across the Merrimack River until it met "with our [i.e., the king's] other Governments." Since the English crown had never publicly proclaimed the eastern limits of the colony of New York, this vague description bred considerable confusion.
Wentworth, assuming that New York's modified boundary with Connecticut and Massachusetts (20 mi/32 km E of the Hudson River) would be extended even farther north, made (1749) the first of the New Hampshire Grants—the township called Bennington—to a group that included his relatives and friends. However, New York claimed that its boundary extended as far east as the Connecticut River, and Gov. George Clinton of New York (father of Sir Henry Clinton) promptly informed Governor Wentworth that he had no authority to make such a grant. Wentworth thereupon suggested that the dispute between New York and New Hampshire over control of Vermont be referred to the crown. The outbreak of the last of the French and Indian Wars in 1754 briefly suspended interest in the area, but after the British captured Ticonderoga and Crown Point in 1759, Wentworth resumed granting land in the area of present Vermont.
In 1764 the British authorities upheld New York's territorial claim to Vermont. New York immediately tried to assert its jurisdiction—Wentworth's grants were declared void, and new grants (for the same lands) were issued by the New York authorities. Those who held their lands from New Hampshire resisted, and a hot controversy, long in the making, now exploded. New York and New Hampshire land speculators had the most at stake, with the New Hampshire grantees, first on the scene, having the advantage. Regional pride among the New England settlers played a large part in creating resistance to New York authority. Chief among the leaders of this resistance was Ethan Allen, who organized the Green Mountain Boys. New York courts were forcibly broken up, and armed violence was directed against New Yorkers until the outbreak of the American Revolution in 1775, when the British became the major threat and common enemy.
The American Revolution and Independent Vermont
At the beginning of the Revolution, Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys captured Ticonderoga, and Seth Warner took Crown Point. In Jan., 1777, Vermont (as its citizens were soon calling the region) proclaimed itself an independent state at a meeting in the town of Westminster. Chiefly because of the opposition of New York, the Continental Congress refused to recognize Vermont as the 14th colony or state. The convention that met at Windsor in July reaffirmed Vermont's independent status and adopted a constitution, notable especially because it was the first in the United States to provide for universal male suffrage. Thomas Chittenden was elected the first governor.
The Green Mountain Boys under Seth Warner and John Stark made an important contribution to the American cause with their victory at Bennington in Aug., 1777 (see Saratoga campaign). Later, Ethan Allen and his brother Ira Allen, acting on their own, entered into devious negotiations with British agents, possibly with the intent of annexing Vermont to Canada. The talks were inconclusive and ended when the Americans finally triumphed at Yorktown in 1781. For ten years Vermont remained an independent state, performing all the offices of a sovereign government (such as coining money, setting up post offices, naturalizing new citizens, and appointing ambassadors) and gradually becoming more and more independent.
Statehood, at Last
Not until 1791, after many delays and misunderstandings and, most important, after the dispute with New York was finally adjusted (1790) by payment of $30,000, did Vermont enter the Union. It was the first state to be admitted after the adoption of the Constitution by the 13 original states. In the next two decades Vermont had the greatest population increase in its history, from 85,425 in 1790 to 217,895 in 1810. As in the earlier days, most of the settlers migrated from S New England, and, since the more desirable lands in the river valleys were soon taken, many of them settled in the less hospitable hills.
Although the Embargo Act of 1807 aided the development of many small manufacturing establishments, it was bitterly opposed in Vermont for its disruption of the profitable trade with Canada. The War of 1812 was unpopular in Vermont as it was in the rest of New England, and during the war extensive smuggling across the Canadian border was carried on. Vermont was threatened by British invasion from Canada until U.S. troops, under Thomas Macdonough, won (1814) the battle on Lake Champlain.
At this early period in its history, Vermont, lacking an aristocracy of wealth, was the most democratic state in New England. Jeffersonian Democrats held control for most of the first quarter of the 19th cent. Beginning in the 1820s political and social life in Vermont was considerably affected by the activities of those opposed to Freemasonry, and in the presidential election of 1832 Vermont was the only state carried by William Wirt, candidate of the Anti-Masonic party. Anti-Masonry agitation was soon succeeded by even more vigorous efforts in behalf of another cause—the one against slavery.
The Mexican and Civil Wars
In the Mexican War, which it viewed as having been undertaken solely to increase slave territory, Vermont was very apathetic. However, no Northern state was more energetic in support of the Union cause in the Civil War, and Vermonters strongly favored Lincoln over Vermont-born Stephen Douglas. One of the most bizarre incidents of the war was the Confederate raid (1864) on Saint Albans, a town which, after the war, also figured in the equally bizarre attempt of the Fenians to invade Canada in the cause of Irish independence.
The Changing Economy of Vermont
The economy of the state, meanwhile, was in the midst of a series of sharp dislocations. The rise of manufacturing in towns and villages during the early 19th cent. had created a demand for foodstuffs for the nonfarming population. Consequently, commercial farming began to crowd out the subsistence farming that had predominated since the mid-18th cent. Grain and beef cattle became the chief market produce, but when the rapidly expanding West began to supply these commodities more cheaply and when wool textile mills began to spring up in S New England, Vermont turned to sheep raising.
After the Civil War, however, the sheep industry, unable to withstand the competition from the American West as well as from Australian, and South American wool, began to diminish. The rural population declined as many farmers migrated westward or turned to the apparently easier life of the cities, and abandoned farms became a common sight. The transition to dairy farming in the 20 years following the war staved off a permanent decline in Vermont's agricultural pursuits.
Since the 1960s, Vermont's economy has grown significantly with booms in the tourist industry and in exurban homebuilding and with the attraction of high-technology firms to the Burlington area. In recent years, prosperity has to some degree conflicted with concern for environmental issues. Nonetheless, the state has been active in attempts to preserve its natural beauty, enacting very strict laws regarding industrial pollution and the conservation of natural resources.
See Federal Writers' Project, Vermont: A Guide to the Green Mountain State (3d ed. 1968); R. N. Hill et al., comp., Vermont (1969); A. M. Hemenway, Abby Hemenway's Vermont, ed. by B. C. Morrissey from the 5-volume Vermont Historical Gazetteer of 1881 (1972); C. T. Morrissey, Vermont (1981); T. D. Bassett, Vermont: A Bibliography of Its History (1983); H. A. Meeks, Vermont's Land and Resources (1986).
Copyright The Columbia University Press
Burlington . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 523
Montpelier . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 535
Rutland . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 545
The State in Brief
Nickname: Green Mountain State
Motto: Vermont, freedom, and unity
Flower: Red clover
Bird: Hermit thrush
Area: 9,614 square miles (2000; U.S. rank: 45th)
Elevation: Ranges from 95 feet to 4,393 feet
Climate: Long, cold winters; warm summers
Admitted to Union: March 4, 1791
Head Official: Governor James H. Douglas (R) (until 2007)
2004 estimate: 621,394
Percent change, 1990–2000: 8.2%
U.S. rank in 2004: 49th
Percent of residents born in state: 54.3% (2000)
Density: 65.8 people per square mile (2000)
2002 FBI Crime Index Total: 15,600
Racial and Ethnic Characteristics (2000)
Black or African American: 3,063
American Indian and Alaska Native: 2,420
Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander: 141
Hispanic or Latino (may be of any race): 5,504
Age Characteristics (2000)
Population under 5 years old: 33,989
Population 5 to 19 years old: 132,268
Percent of population 65 years and over: 12.4%
Median age: 37.7 years (2000)
Total number of births (2003): 6,546
Total number of deaths (2003): 5,068 (infant deaths, 32)
AIDS cases reported through 2003: 250
Major industries: Services, manufacturing, tourism
Unemployment rate: 3.3% (April 2005)
Per capita income: $30,534 (2003; U.S. rank: 23rd)
Median household income: $43,212 (3-year average, 2001-2003)
Percentage of persons below poverty level: 9.4% (3-year average, 2001-2003)
Income tax rate: 3.6–9.5%
Sales tax rate: 6.0%
COPYRIGHT 2006 Thomson Gale
March 4, 1791
The Green Mountain State
State bird :
State flower :
State tree :
State motto :
Freedom and unity
© World Encyclopedia 2005, originally published by Oxford University Press 2005.
The state of Vermont has retained its rural character throughout the history of a nation that has become increasingly urbanized and industrialized. Its quaint, natural beauty continues to attract thousands of tourists and summer residents who add greatly to the state's economy. Yet its manufacturing enterprises that make up over 50 percent of the state's revenues. Vermont has maintained its ties to the past, but has kept pace with the present.
The first European explorer of Vermont was Samuel de Champlain (1567–1635), who, in 1609, crossed the lake that now bears his name. From around 1650 through the 1760s, French, Dutch, English, and Iroquois Indians crossed Vermont, using trails between Montreal, Massachusetts, and New York. The first permanent settlement in the region was not established until 1724. For several decades both New York and New Hampshire claimed Vermont. Ethan Allen, a hero in the American Revolution (1775–1783), led a group that protested New York's claims. During the Revolution, Vermont adopted its own constitution and formed an independent republic; it was admitted to the Union in 1791.
Just before the War of 1812 (1812–1814) Vermonters engaged in smuggling to avoid the Embargo of 1808. The state continued trading with Canada during the war despite prohibitions on trade with Great Britain. By 1810 Vermont's population had reached 220,000, with most of the new settlers engaged in self-sufficient farming. After 1820, however, many began moving to the virgin lands of western New York, the Ohio Valley, and the trans-Mississippi region, which depleted Vermont's population. Despite an economic boost from newly built railroads, Vermont had simply run out of arable land and had overworked the available land. Vermont also had an insufficient number of manufacturing jobs, partly because the British had flooded the markets with cheaply produced cloth after the War of 1812.
The construction of the Champlain-Hudson Canal in 1823 and the railroads that were built in Vermont during the 1840s and 1850s did little to improve the state's economy, making it more vulnerable to competition from western territories. As emigration increased, however, those farmers remaining in the state were able to increase their prices for wool, butter, cheese, and milk. Irish and French-Canadian immigrants added to the population, and some light industry helped the economy to grow. By the late nineteenth century the well-known Vermont marble and granite quarries were being constructed, and the tourist industry began its steady rise into the twentieth century.
Vermonters seemed largely distant from many of the political and economic trends that gripped the nation after the American Civil War (1861–1865). They did not respond to the "free silver" message of presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan (1860–1925), nor to the Progressivism of the 1920s. The only U.S. President from Vermont, Calvin Coolidge (1923–1929), espoused rural conservatism. Though industrial growth occurred in towns such as Springfield, which manufactured the rifles named after the town; St. Johnsbury, where the famous St. Johnsbury scales were produced; Burlington, which boasted a number of textile mills; and quarry towns like Barre, Vermont remained primarily rural in character. In the early 1920s Vermont had the dubious honor of having more cows than people (a ratio which persisted until 1963).
The state was more forward-looking, however, in its approach to what would become a thriving tourist industry. Vermont established the first state publicity service in the nation. By 1911 it had produced its first publication, Vermont, Designed by the Creator for the Playground of the Continent. The state had recognized that its natural beauty was attracting many vacationers to its lakes, mountains, and, by the 1930s and 1940s, its ski resorts.
After World War II (1939–1945) both vacationers and second-home buyers flocked to Vermont over improved highways. A more suburban outlook began to pervade the state as professional people from New York and Massachusetts settled in the state. Native Vermonters wrestled with how to hold onto their rural heritage and, at the same time, embrace the economic benefits brought by the newcomers. A number of soil and water conservation measures were enacted by the state legislature, along with anti-litter and anti-bill-board regulations.
Although manufacturing is the economic lifeblood of the state, Vermont remains the nation's most rural state, with two-thirds of its population living in towns of 2,500 or fewer. In the words of historian Charles T. Morrissey, "Vermont is not where Chicago or Pittsburgh or Detroit or other large cities grew. It is not where stockyards and slaughterhouses spread along the railroad tracks, or steel mills darkened the skies with smoke. . . .Vermont has been apart from the American mainstream." Modern Vermont's primary agricultural products are livestock and dairy products, followed by corn, hay, and apples. The state is also the nation's leading producer of maple syrup.
Mining is another profitable sector of Vermont's economy. It quarries granite and slate, is home to the world's largest marble reserve, and produces crushed stone, construction sand, and gravel. Dimension stone is the state's leading mineral commodity, making up slightly less than 50 percent of the state's total mineral production value. While these rural enterprises are important to the state, employment in recent decades has increased the most in manufacturing including such products as: electronics and machine parts. However, construction, wholesale and retail trade, and other service industries have also thrived. The state's per capita income in the mid-1990s was just over $22,000, which ranked thirtieth in the nation.
Bassett, T.D. S. Vermont. Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, 1983.
Crockett, Walter H. History of Vermont. 5 vols. New York: Century, 1921.
Hill, Ralph Nading. Vermont: A Special World. Montpelier: Vermont Life, 1969.
Morrissey, Charles T. Vermont: A Bicentennial History. New York: Norton, 1981.
Sherman, Micheal, and Jennie Versteeg, eds. We Vermonters: Perspectives on the Past. Montpelier: Vermont Historical Society, 1992.
vermont is part of the modern world despite its rural landscape and the currier and ives imagery projected from the garish sides of maple syrup tins.
charles d. morrissey, vermont: a bicentennial history, 1981
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