Vermont Constitution OF 1777 (July 8, 1777)

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In significant respects Vermont's early constitutional history was unique. It was never a colony, had no charter, and was not recognized as a separate government or state by the original thirteen, although it fully supported the American cause during the Revolution. Vermonters declared their independence not only from Great Britain but also from New York. A "convention" adopted a constitution, prefaced by a declaration of rights, that was modeled after the extremely democratic pennsylvania constitution of 1776, but Vermont added three notable provisions. Its constitution was the first to outlaw slavery, the first to allow all male residents over twenty-one to vote even if they owned no property and paid no taxes, and the first to include a provision for just compensation in cases of eminent domain. Vermont joined the union as the fourteenth state in 1791.

Leonard W. Levy

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Vermont Constitution OF 1777 (July 8, 1777)

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