Ethan, Allen

Ethan Allen was a soldier and activist for independence for the American colonies and autonomy for Vermont.

Allen, Ethan (1738-1789) Writer, Soldier, and Politician: Allen devoted nearly twenty years to the struggle for statehood or independence for Vermont. During the Revolutionary War, Allen fought both to free the colonies from Britain and to free Vermont from the claims of New York, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts. Allen fought at Fort Ticonderoga with the still anti-loyalist Benedict Arnold in 1775, and participated in the invasion of Canada, during which he was arrested. After two years of prison, he was released in exchange for another prisoner. Allen unsuccessfully tried to negotiate the return of Vermont to Britain in exchange for a guarantee of statehood. Allen has been accused of treasonous action, since he was simultaneously in the Continental Army and the Vermont militia. In addition to his political stands, Allen held controversial religious views: he was a leading American deist and author of Reason the Only Oracle of Man. Two years after his death, Allen's life's work became a reality: Vermont became a state.