Vermont Constitutions

Vermont’s 1777 Constitution gave birth to the State, which at the time was claimed by New York and New Hampshire. Drawn in large measure from Pennsylvania’s 1776 Constitution, Vermont’s founding document had several radical innovations including a prohibition on slavery and universal manhood suffrage unencumbered by property qualifications. The Constitution also provided a mechanism, the Council of Censors, for proposing amendments, if needed, every seven years.

The Council of Censors proposed a variety of amendments which were adopted and became the 1786 Constitution. The new constitution was generally perceived as curtailing some direct powers granted citizens and as a retrenchment from the more radical republicanism of the State's founders.

The 1793 Constitution reflected the Censors’ proposals to adjust constitutional language in accordance with Vermont’s joining the United States in 1791. For example, the preamble, which enumerated Vermont’s grievances with New York, was eliminated. The 1793 Constitution remains the core of the current Vermont Constitution.

This page was last updated: 2014-08-04