The 14th State
Why did it take 14 years before Vermont became part of the United States?
In 1777, the thirteen colonies were fighting the Revolutionary War with England. They were too busy to stop Vermont from becoming an independent state. But the Continental Congress(the government of the United States during the Revolutionary War) was not ready to let Vermont become part of the new United States. New York did not want Vermont to join the United States and the other former(something that used to be) colonies agreed.
After 14 years, New York agreed that Vermont could become part of the United States. But first, Vermont had to pay $30,000 to New York. That was a lot of money in 1791, but Vermont wanted to join the United States. So Vermont paid the money to New York.
On March 4, 1791, Vermont became the 14th state! The new state was in the north. A year later, Kentucky became the 15th state. Kentucky is in the south. The United States stayed balanced.
The United States government wanted to know how many people were in Vermont and the other states. The census(a count of all the people living in a place) takers counted 85,425 people living in Vermont in 1791. After Vermont became a state, even more people came to start new towns and new farms. In 1805, Vermont picked Montpelier to be the capital city. That’s the story of how Vermont became the 14th state.
Thinking About History
Historians ask questions to think deeply about history.
Why is it important for the government to know how many people live in each state?
Follow the links below to explore related topics.
Read a transcription of the Vermont Statehood Document
Read the article Counting Heads in 1791: The United States Census in Vermont from Green Mountaineer Magazine
How many people lived in your county? Find out in the 1791 census records
Does your library have any of these books set in Vermont in the 1700s?
Read the article A Visit to Vermont from Historic Roots Magazine about Thomas Jefferson's trip to Vermont in 1791.
Read the article Gamaliel Painter, Middlebury's Town Father from Historic Roots Magazine
Copy and paste this citation to show where you did your research.
Vermont Historical Society. "The 14th State." Vermont History Explorer. Accessed December 4, 2023. https://vermonthistoryexplorer.org/the-14th-state