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A Loose Confederation of Villages: A Historical View of Vermont Democracy

A Bennington Historical Society Presentation

Originally developed for UVM Extension’s town officer training program, this talk will explore the formation and implementation of Vermont’s democracy from independent republic to the 21st century. What was the “mountain rule?” What was the role of the “overseer of the poor?” When did paper ballots start to supplant the voice vote? How did Vermont navigate as a single-party state for 100 years? From comical to serious, Vermont’s political history informs our work today.

A lifelong Vermonter, Steve Perkins’ professional career has led him on a path of preserving and celebrating Vermont’s unique history and iconic landscape. Steve lives in his family’s 1805 farmhouse in northern Vermont and is inspired by the landscape and history surrounding him each day. Steve left Vermont with the intention of not returning, to pursue a career in Historic Preservation. After undergraduate studies in historic preservation, art history, and theater, Steve finished his studies with a degree in Early American Material Culture from the Winterthur Program of University of Delaware.  After brief stints at Hampton National Historic Site and Winterthur Museum, Steve returned to Vermont with his wife Galen and took up residency in Bennington.  Steve served as the curator and then director of the Bennington Museum. With an ill father to tend to and a need for change, Steve moved home to Williston, purchased the family farm and joined the staff of ECHO.  Since 2015, Steve has been the executive director of the Vermont Historical Society. Besides his job, two active teenagers, ongoing repairs to a very old house, and maintaining a farm keep him very busy.

The Bennington Historical Society is a volunteer-run program of Bennington Museum. The BHS offers its programs at no charge with support from Williams Financial. You can support the efforts of the BHS to share the history of our region by making a donation.