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Vermont mirrors the other original state constitutions as far as a basic understanding of reality with differences of opinion on the states role in fostering it. As with some of the other states it abolishes slavery by phasing it out. Other states outright banned it and Massachusetts constitution was immediately used by slaves to sue their masters in court and gain criminal convictions against them for holding them as slaves, thereby ridding that state of it. This is an important subject to understand because when the founders of the nation began to die off a political party was formed that dominated the federal government for the half a century leading to the civil war. It used the coercive power of the federal government to force slavery on the states who had long since banned it. Further than this though, in forsaking the whole concept of all men being created equally it began to build an empire in the west by conquering the natives and imposing slavery by force on those newly conquered territories.


WHEREAS all government ought to be instituted and supported for the security and protection of the community as such, and to enable the individuals, who compose it, to enjoy their natural rights, and the other blessings which the Author of existence has bestowed upon man:



I. THAT all men are born equally free and independent, and have certain natural, inherent and unalienable rights; amongst which are, the enjoying and defending life and liberty-acquiring, possessing and protecting property-and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety. Therefore, no male person, born in this country, or brought from over sea, ought to be holden by law to serve any person, as a servant, slave, or apprentice, after he arrives to the age of twenty one Years; nor female, in like manner, after she arrives to the age of eighteen years; unless they are bound by their own consent after they arrive to such age; or bound by law for the payment of debts, damages, fines, costs, or the like. 

III. That all men have a natural and unalienable right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences and understandings, as In their opinion shall be regulated by the word of God; and that no man ought, or of right can be compelled to attend any religious worship, or erect or support any place of worship, or maintain any minister, contrary to the dictates of his conscience; nor can any man be justly deprived or abridged of any civil right as a citizen, on account of his religious sentiments, or peculiar mode of religious worship; and that no authority can, or ought to be vested in, or assumed by any power whatsoever, that shall in any case interfere with, or in any manner control the rights of conscience, in the free exercise of religious worship: Nevertheless, every sect or denomination of Christians ought to observe the Sabbath or Lord's day, and keep up some sort of religious worship, which to them shall seem most agreeable to the revealed will of God. 

Chapter 2
Plan or frame of government.

And each member, before he takes his seat, shall make and subscribe the following declaration, viz.
You do believe in one God, the Creator and Governor of the Universe, the retarder of the good, and punisher of the wicked. And you do acknowledge the scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be given by divine inspiration; and own and profess the Protestant religion.
And no further or other religious test shall ever hereafter be required of any civil officer or magistrate, in this State. 

XXXVIII. Laws for the encouragement of virtue, and prevention of vice and immorality, ought to be constantly kept in force, and duly executed; and a competent number of schools ought to be maintained in each town for the convenient instruction of youth; and one or more grammar schools be incorporated, and properly supported in each county in this State. And all religious societies, or bodies of men, that may be hereafter united or incorporated, for the advancement of religion and learning, or for other pious and charitable purposes, shall be encouraged and protected in the enjoyment of the privileges, immunities, and estates, which they in justice ought to enjoy, under such regulations as the General Assembly of this State shall direct

To view the entire constitution follow this hyperlink.

The Constitution of Vermont 1786

© Daniel Martinovich 2002-2013

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