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Biographies Unit Biographies

Ethan Allen 1738–1789
Revolutionary Frontier Leader

Delegates to the Second Continental Congress were hard at work in May of 1775 when amazing news arrived: American colonists had attacked the British at Fort Ticonderoga—and won! The surprise attack was the work of Ethan Allen, a frontier leader, and a group of patriots called the Green Mountain Boys.

Ethan Allen was born in Connecticut and settled in the Green Mountains, in present-day Vermont. He was both frontiersman and philosopher. He wrote a book about religion as well as many articles defending the rights of settlers to control their land. After capturing Fort Ticonderoga, Allen took part in an invasion of Canada. He was taken prisoner by the British and held for two years. After his release, he wrote a best-selling book about his captivity. Ethan Allen then led the effort to have Congress accept Vermont as a state. Vermont became the fourteenth state in 1791, two years after Allen's death.

Comprehension Check

Of what state was Ethan Allen an early leader?

Critical Thinking

Ethan Allen was a fighter, a thinker, and a writer. Is this an unusual combination? Why or why not?