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The Once and Future Republic of Vermont

(Edit: I should mention that Vermont has been and continues to be of interest to me because of family history. Ethan Allen's Green Mountain Boys -- some of the USA-to-be's earliest freedom fighters / terrorists, depending on which side of the street you're working -- put a price onmy six-times-great-grandfather's head because he spent a lot of time trying to get a significant portion of what would later become Vermont reassigned / reclassified as part of New York. (He owned 64,000 acres of this land, but the records say he "was never able to take possession", which may simply mean he wasn't wild about settling somewhere that a lot of people wanted to kill him.) It looks to me as if his position as a signer of the Articles of Confederation and as Mayor of New York City, as well as the support and good opinion of George Washington and the behind-the-scenes pressure of friends with a lot of power and money, kept him from coming to an untimely end (instead of being buried, old and full of years, in the middle of a whole lot of his own real estate, up near Schenectady).

I could go on about him for quite a while: he was a fascinating creature -- maverick legal talent, early real estate mogul, mover-and-shaker, troublemaker, sometimes politically astute and sometimes a complete idiot. He deserves a book to himself, one which I may or may not ever have time to get around to.

That said: I really like Vermont.


( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 2nd, 2007 01:55 pm (UTC)
Reading the comments posted to it is fun... A surprising amount of people taking it seriously.
Apr. 2nd, 2007 03:08 pm (UTC)
Well, the folks who wrote it take it seriously; they've been talking about this for quite some time. They've had conventions in the Vermont State house about it, among other things. Gotta say, I'm wholeheartedly behind them in this. At a certain point, you've got to realize that you can't change other folks' minds, and the best solution is to split up and leave each other alone. Far as I'm concerned, I'd be just as happy to live in the New England Federation of Independent States as in the US, and far happier than living in the Global Empire of Jesustan. Which is where we seem to be headed, these days.

Good to see elements of the MSM taking notice of the secessionist movement, even if it's mostly as a joke.
Apr. 2nd, 2007 02:58 pm (UTC)
This is, so far as I've ever seen in my years in Vermont, one of those things Vermonters love to talk about to make ourselves feel better. We are independent! Good old-fashioned self-sufficient Yankees, beholden to no one and taking no guff from the government! We're only in this Union as a favor to the rest of you!

And then nobody ever actually does anything about it, except the occasional letter to the editor like this one. Because nobody actually wants all the negative consequences of putting it to the test.

It makes a nice pipe dream, anyway.
Apr. 2nd, 2007 04:47 pm (UTC)
Secession and New England go together like maple syrup and fresh snowfall. Vermont's secession discussion is absolutely lovely, and gives the residents the same hope as Western Massachusetts' continual hope that one day, they will secede from the rest of the Bay State, as there are plenty of elected officials in the Eastern part who believe that the map beyond Worcester is marked "Here There Be Dragons." (Heck, Boston flooded four of our towns so they could have fresh drinking water. You're welcome, guys.)

Western Mass even takes this to a further extreme. There's a small town called Goshen up in the Hilltowns, halfway between the Connecticut River and the Berkshires. For years, one particular civic-minded resident would get up at the annual Town Meeting and once again motion to put to a vote the matter of Goshen seceding from the State of Massachusetts (or, indeed, the entire country) and operating on its own. Oddly, it never passed, but is one of the more favorite bits of lore around the area.

That said, it is alternately amusing and disconcerting to read the comments on that Post essay. Satire is indeed lost on people these days, those whose knees jerk and hit the keyboard in just the right place so that "AMERICA LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT!11!1" suddenly spews forth in the comment field.

Am still working on that plan to colonize the moon, Gen. I'll let you know how that works out.
Apr. 2nd, 2007 08:15 pm (UTC)
Hee! That sounds about right, for Western Mass. I wouldn't be surprised in the slightest to hear of Vermont mountain towns with similar town-secession plans, though I don't know of any specifics. Oh, New England. Where radical secession plans are brought to town meetings and politely tabled.

Those comments were indeed disconcerting, though. At least the first page, which is all I read. So very many people with no sense of perspective whatsoever. I like being able to preserve my faith in humanity's sense of humor, darn it, however much denial it requires.

Do keep me posted on the moon colonization, thanks. I've been waiting for my chance to stake out some territory in New New England: The Farmless Version.
Apr. 2nd, 2007 09:27 pm (UTC)
Being independent (and self-sufficient, which is NOT the same thing) sounds like a good thing... but there are times when I wish I was living with my parents again, and didn't have to worry about rent, food, utilities, taxes...

It's the same thing when you aren't part of a larger sovereign nation. Want to chart your own destiny in the big wide world? You're gonna have to pay for it.
Apr. 3rd, 2007 07:46 am (UTC)
Well, sure. Which is a good part of why nothing ever happens but newspaper editorials and some speeches at town meeting.

We like telling ourselves we have the option. If ever we felt like using it. Which we don't right now. Yes.

Very few people actually want to do anything about it, because there are a great many benefits to being part of the US nobody really wants to give up. Nobody really wants to examine the amount of work and organization and restructuring it would take to make Vermont -- or any of the other New England states -- into a viable sovereign nation. And that's even setting aside all the many difficulties inherent in breaking free of the United States, which history has shown to be not exactly an easy and popular prospect.

This is much more a popular periodic hobbyhorse than any kind of actual secession movement. I can't imagine the idea getting any kind of popular vote as a realistic prospect.
Apr. 2nd, 2007 03:05 pm (UTC)
the Once and Future Republic of Vermont

Don't you think this is just a left-over April Fool's day joke?

Apr. 2nd, 2007 03:17 pm (UTC)
Re: the Once and Future Republic of Vermont
Naaah, this has been going on for ages. But it's still all just talk. Vermont's a great place though, and I'd go over there and get citizenship in a jiffy. It's only 40 minutes away for me.
Apr. 2nd, 2007 03:20 pm (UTC)
Re: the Once and Future Republic of Vermont
Well, that had occurred to me. But if so, someone seems to have gone to some trouble to establish at least the presence of the two organizations mentioned, the Vermont Commons and the Second Vermont Republic. See the following links as a start, and you tell me whether they seem to you like hoaxsites.


Apr. 2nd, 2007 03:24 pm (UTC)
I think it's a great idea and in some ways demeaned by being printed on April 1st ... whether Vermont succeeds at seceding or not, the article makes several very good points and I have been educated and influenced by it. So good writing too.
Apr. 2nd, 2007 04:16 pm (UTC)
If Vermont does secede, New Hampshire will follow a week later.

But we'll absolutely refuse to let Vermont (except for Killington) be part of the same country as us.
Apr. 2nd, 2007 04:25 pm (UTC)
A friend did a couple of webcomics (strip #1, strip #2) on this issue a while ago…
Apr. 3rd, 2007 05:27 am (UTC)
OMG, that's hysterical! "I'm not sure that cosplay is the best route to regime change" -- I can just hear that being delivered, deadpan, by Steven Colbert.
Apr. 2nd, 2007 04:57 pm (UTC)
You should make your really, really great grandfather a magical cat and then write about him.
Apr. 2nd, 2007 05:13 pm (UTC)
Hearing about your many-times-great-grand reminds me of the family stories about mine, who according to legend had a store right on the Vermont-Canada line. Which side of the store the cashbox was kept on depended entirely on whose tax agents had stopped by that day.
Apr. 2nd, 2007 07:54 pm (UTC)
I've been to Brattleboro. It's nice :)
Apr. 2nd, 2007 08:12 pm (UTC)
64,000 acres? That's 10 *sections* (a section is a mile on a side). Which means that quite likely, he owned a chunk of land ten miles on a side.

That's a rather large chunk of land. Pity you can't repossess it. :-)
Apr. 3rd, 2007 03:58 pm (UTC)
I love how for every article about Vermont there's another crappy historic thing to say about Georgia. Oh home-state-of-mine - how wayward you are!
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )

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