The term Vermont Republic has been used by later historians to describe the area that became the state of Vermont from 1777 to 1791. In July 1777 delegates from 28 towns met and declared independence from jurisdictions and land claims of British colonies in New Hampshire and New York. They also abolished slavery within their boundaries. Because of vehement objections from New York, which had conflicting property claims, the Continental Congress declined to recognize Vermont, then called the New Hampshire grants. Overtures by Ethan Allen to the organizers to join the Province of Quebec failed. In 1791 Vermont was admitted to the United States as the 14th state. The name "Vermont Republic" is a translation of the abbreviated Latin phrase Vermontis. Res. Publica, which appeared on coins issued in Vermont during its 14 years of independence.
The people of Vermont took part in the American Revolution and considered themselves Americans, even if Congress did not recognize the jurisdiction while the state of New York competed to claim the land.
Vermont did not send or receive diplomats, but it coined a currency called Vermont coppers from a mint operated by Reuben Harmon in East Rupert (1785–1788), and operated a postal system. While the Vermont coppers bore the legend Vermontis. Res. Publica (Latin for republic or state), the constitution and other official documents used the term "State of Vermont". It referred to its chief executive as a "governor".
The Vermont Republic was called the "reluctant republic" because many early citizens favored political union with the United States rather than independence. Both popular opinion and the legal construction of the government made clear that the independent State of Vermont would eventually join the original 13 states. The largest obstacle to Vermont joining its peers was New York's disputed claims to Vermont territory. While the Continental Congress did not allow a seat for Vermont, William Samuel Johnson, representing Connecticut, was engaged by Vermont to promote its interests. (In 1785 Johnson was granted title to the former King's College Tract by the Vermont General Assembly as a form of compensation for representing Vermont .) The members of the Convention of 1787 assumed that Vermont was not yet separate from New York; however, Madison's notes on the Federal Convention of 1787 make clear that there was an agreement by New York to allow for the admission of Vermont to the union; it was just a question of process, which was delayed by larger federal questions. Article 4, Section 3 of the Constitution concerning new states and federal property, was designed with Vermont in mind.