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1791 (March 4)

Vermont entered the Union as the nation's 14th state. 


1791 (October 31)

Vermont's first United States senator, Moses Robinson of Bennington, took his seat and repeated the oath of office. Four days later, on November 4, Vermont's second senator, Stephen Bradley of Westminster, was sworn in.


1791 (November 7)

Senators Moses Robinson and Stephen Bradley of Westminister drew lots to determine class assignments. Robinson drew Class 1, with a term to expire in 1797. Bradley drew Class 3, with a term to expire in 1795. Bradley returned to the Senate in 1801 and served another 13 years. He was the longest-serving Vermont senator until 1883.


1802 (December 14)

The Senate elected Stephen Bradley as its president pro tempore. A biographer later described Bradley as an "able, hard-working senator whose ready wit and boundless store of amusing anecdotes made him popular with his colleagues."


1816 (December 13)

Dudley Chase of Randolph became the first chairman of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.


1854 (March 16)

The Senate ruled that appointed senator Samuel Phelps of Middlebury was not entitled to retain his seat. He had been appointed to the Senate on January 17, 1853, but the state legislature had twice met and failed to elect a successor. The question was whether an appointment expires when the legislature next meets, or only when the legislature elects a successor.


1855 (March 4)

Jacob Collamer of Woodstock, an attorney, began his service in the Senate. For most of his Senate term Collamer also served as the last president of Vermont Medical College at Woodstock.


1861 (February 16)

The Senate elected Solomon Foot of Rutland president pro tempore. He held that post through the darkest months of the Civil War. Foot died on March 28, 1866.


1862 (July 2)

President Lincoln signed the Morrill Land Grant Act, sponsored by Senator Justin Morrill of Strafford, which set aside federal lands to create colleges to “benefit the agricultural and mechanical arts.”


1866

In the years following the Civil War, as service in the Senate became more attractive, the seniority of Vermont's delegation soared. George Edmunds of Burlington served from this day in 1866 to November 1, 1891, a total of 25 years, 6 months, and 30 days. Justin Morrill held his seat from 1867 to 1898, a total of 31 years, 9 months, and 25 days. Edmunds' and Morrill's service records would not be broken for almost 50 years.


1867

George Edmunds, former speaker of the Vermont house and president of the state senate, chaired the committee to develop rules to govern President Andrew Johnson's Senate impeachment trial. (He subsequently voted to remove Johnson from office.) During his 25-year Senate career, Edmunds carried on a profitable private law practice, arguing cases before federal courts, including the Supreme Court.


1869 (March 8)

Justin Morrill began his eight-year chairmanship of the Senate Committee on Public Buildings and Grounds. In that capacity, he promoted a major redesign of the Capitol's grounds and a separate building for the Library of Congress.


1872 (December 6)

George Edmunds became chairman of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, serving until 1879 and again from 1881 to 1891.


1876 (June 10)

Congress accepted a marble statue of Ethan Allen sculpted by Larkin G. Meade, as Vermont's first contribution to the National Statuary Hall Collection.


1881 (February 18)

Congress accepted a marble statue of former senator Jacob Collamer sculpted by Preston Powers as Vermont's second contribution to the National Statuary Hall Collection.


1883 (March 3)

The Senate elected George Edmunds as its president pro tempore, a position Edmunds held until 1885.


1885 (December )

Senator George Edmunds was elected Republican Conference chairman, a position he held until 1891.


1890 (April 8)

The Senate passed the Sherman Antitrust Act, outlawing trade and commercial restraints imposed by trusts and monopolies. As chairman of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, George Edmunds amended the measure to ensure its enactment.


1895 (December 2)

Redfield Proctor of Proctor became chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry (today's Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry), serving until March 3, 1907.


1898 (March 17)

Senator Redfield Proctor delivered a speech on the Senate floor on the conditions in Cuba, following an observation visit there. His remarks helped swing American opinion in favor of war with Spain to secure the island's independence.


1898 (December 28)

Senator Justin Morrill died. At the time of his death, he had chaired a major Senate committee—the Committee on Finance—for 17 years, longer than anyone in history, setting a record that still stands for that committee. He served in the Senate for 31 years, 9 months, and 25 days, and held the record for longest-serving Vermont senator until George Aiken surpassed him in 1941.


1907 (April 22)

A special nine-member commission to investigate U.S. immigration policies elected Senator William Dillingham of Montpelier as its chairman. Dillingham had chaired the Senate Immigration Committee since 1903. In its 41-volume report issued in 1911, the Dillingham Commission advocated more restrictive immigration policies out of fear that the influx of new residents "threatened to transform the republic into a non-Protestant nation of cities breeding disease, poverty, and crime." Dillingham promoted the quota system, implemented in 1920, that allowed entrance to three percent of a nationality already in the U.S.


1913 (April 8)

The Seventeenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution went into effect, allowing the election of U.S. senators by popular vote. Vermont's first directly elected senator was William Dillingham, who won reelection in 1914.


1935 (February 22)

Senator Warren Austin of Burlington read George Washington's 1796 Farewell Address on the floor of the Senate, a tradition dating to 1862.


1946 (August 2)

Senator Warren Austin resigned from the Senate to accept President Harry Truman's appointment as the first U.S. representative to the United Nations' Security Council. He served until 1953.


1953 (January 3)

George Aiken of Putney became chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry (today's Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry), serving until December 2, 1954.


1954 (February 22)

Senator Ralph E. Flanders of Springfield read George Washington's 1796 Farewell Address on the floor of the Senate, a tradition dating to 1862.


1954 (March 9)

Responding to constituent concerns about the divisive tactics of Wisconsin senator Joseph R. McCarthy, Vermont senator Ralph E. Flanders delivered the first of many speeches denouncing the injustices of McCarthy's hunt for subversive activity in the government. Flanders, a farmer and self-taught industrial economist, led his New England Republican Senate colleagues in the Senate's condemnation of the excesses of the Wisconsin senator.


1963 (February 22)

Senator Winston L. Prouty of Newport read George Washington's 1796 Farewell Address on the floor of the Senate, a tradition dating to 1862.


1975 (January 3)

George Aiken's nearly 34-year tenure in the Senate ended with his retirement. Until 2008 Aiken was Vermont’s longest-serving senator.


1981 (January 5)

Robert T. Stafford of Rutland became chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, serving until January 26, 1987.


1987 (January 5)

Patrick Leahy of Burlington became chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, serving until December 1, 1994.


1997 (January 9)

James Jeffords of Shrewsbury became chairman of the Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources, which became the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions in 1999. He served as chair until 2001. 


2001 (January 3)

Patrick Leahy became chairman of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary. During the 107th Congress, he served as chairman briefly from January 3 to January 20, at which time the Republicans took control of the Senate. Control changed back to the Democrats in June when Vermont senator James Jeffords left the Republican Party and began to caucus with the Democrats, and Leahy became Judiciary Chairman again until 2003. He became chairman again in 2007.


2001 (May 24)

Senator James Jeffords announced his intention to leave the Republican Party and to take on status as an Independent, but to caucus with the Democratic Party. His change ended the Senate's historic 50-50 split and, when it took effect on June 6, shifted the floor leadership and committee organization to the Democratic Party. This was the first time in Senate history that party control shifted in mid-session.


2001 (July 10)

James Jeffords became chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, a position he held until January 14, 2003.


2008 (December 26)

Senator Patrick Leahy of Burlington became Vermont’s longest-serving senator to date, surpassing George Aiken's record of 33 years, 11 months, and 24 days.


2012 (December 17)

Senator Patrick Leahy was elected president pro tempore of the Senate.


2013 (January 24)

Bernard Sanders of Burlington became chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs.