Since 1791, Vermont has been home to some of America’s greatest idealists, contrarians and rebels. Shortly after the American War for Independence, Vermont governed itself as a sovereign republic for over a decade. Today, that independent spirit survives as Vermonters, like many Americans across the United States, are questioning the moral authority and economic sustainability of their political system.

Today, more than two centuries after Vermont joined the United States, many Vermonters have come to regard the United States as a “militaristic empire,” and argue that Vermont would be better off as an independent nation again. Rob Williams, convinced secessionist and leading voice in Vermont’s secessionist media, explains “we’re not left, we’re not right; we’re not red state, we’re not blue state…We think the Occupy Wall Street movement on the left and the Tea Party movement on the right were both part right; the problem is bigness.”

Through a series of interviews with leading Vermont academics, political scientists, activists and analysts, Beyond Empire examines the case for Vermont independence in a contemporary context. It explores Vermont’s unique culture of independence and the political values that made a candidate like Vermont’s Bernie Sanders possible. It also goes further to examine important issues that are relevant to all Americans through a non-partisan lens.