Vermont History

Summer 2005


Class three


Key words and phrases:

Timothy Follett

Patrick Bryan

William Miller

The Embargo Act (1807-08)

The War of 1812

The Champlain Canal (opened 1823)


Henry Stevens/Barnet

Thaddeus Fairbanks/St. Johnsbury

The Champlain Canal

George Wyllys Benedict

The “Sheep Craze”

William Palmer

The Anti-Masons

William Lloyd Garrison

James Marsh




Early Republic: 1791-1823

Market Revolution: 1823-1853

Crisis of Union: 1853-1865

Gilded Age 1865-1890s



The Early Republic: the Revolutionary generation is dying off, moving on and fading away. As their ranks are replaced by a new generation, who will inherit ownership of the founders’ legacies?


When the founders’ vision is more open to interpretation (by people who weren’t there then), will it become easier to unify or harder?


Would dramatic change coming from outside forces strengthen or weaken the imagined community of Vermonters?


Was the idea of Vermont strong because it’s rigid or because it’s flexible?


Was Vermont as an idea one thing or many things? Is it Vermont’s problem, or its strength, that it’s about one thing or many things?



Part I: Manchester and the Boorn-Colvin Affair


The fight: 1812

The trial: 1819


Key actors:

Russell Colvin: the missing man

Sally Colvin: Russell’s wife, S & J’s older sister

Jesse & Stephen Boorn: the accused

Barney Boorn: their father

Thomas Johnson: the Boorns’ neighbor



Part II: Danville and the Anti-Masons


The “Market Revolution”: began with construction of the Erie (and Champlain) Canal. Champlain Canal completed in 1823.


The canals dramatically accelerate the rate at which people, goods and ideas travel.


The “market revolution” is not just about a new economy; it’s about a wholly new kind of society. This change is an equation, with winners and losers. Either way, it produces among those immersed in it a period of ferocious “ultraism” (a single-minded devotion to an issue or cause)


àwhat Western Europe experiences over decades, and the East Coast over decades, Vermont experiences overnight: capitalist transformation.



The Champlain Canal initiated the era of “ultraism”: A fervent, single-minded devotion to an issue or cause.