Life in the Thirteen Colonies

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Reasons Maine and Vermont Were Not Among the Original Thirteen Colonies

Summary:

Maine and Vermont were not among the original thirteen colonies because Maine was part of Massachusetts and Vermont was claimed by both New York and New Hampshire. Maine remained a part of Massachusetts until it became a separate state in 1820, while Vermont declared itself an independent republic in 1777 and later joined the Union as the 14th state in 1791.

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Why wasn't Maine one of the original thirteen colonies?

Maine itself was not a separate colony because it was not granted a royal charter. Instead, the royal charter for the Massachusetts Bay Colony included some of the land area that would eventually become Maine. Maine continued to remain a part of Massachusetts until 1820, when it became its own state. The most likely explanation for not making Maine its own colony is that the area of Maine was contested by both the French and English until after the French and Indian War. By that time, Massachusetts had already governed part of the area of Maine, which was sparsely populated as its main source of wealth was logging for shipbuilding.

This is similar to the Virginia colony, which initially encompassed all of the land which later became West Virginia. When Virginia was granted statehood after the Revolutionary War, it included West Virginia, which did not become its own state until the Civil War, when West Virginia seceded from Virginia.

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Why wasn't Vermont one of the original thirteen colonies?

Vermont claimed independence from the thirteen colonies during the Revolutionary War. Though opposed to this unilateral declaration, the other colonies were not in a position to do anything about it while they were busy fighting the British. Nonetheless, the Continental Congress was still able to refuse to recognize Vermont as a separate colony.

It would take another fourteen years before Vermont would finally enter the Union as a state. Such a long delay was largely down to territorial disputes with other states. The state of New York vehemently opposed Vermont's entry into the Union because it claimed that some of Vermont's lands rightly belonged to them. As New York was such a powerful player in national politics, the state was able to get the Continental Congress to refuse to even discuss the case for Vermont's entry as a member of the Union. It was only when Vermont agreed to pay New York the then substantial sum of $30,000 that it was finally able to begin the formal process of becoming the fourteenth state.

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