July 8, 1777 – Vermont Becomes the First State to Abolish Slavery

On this day in history, Vermont formally adopted its State Constitution, which stressed that all men were born equally free:

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.”

You can read the entire text of Vermont’s 1777 Constitution here.

constitution

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