Today in History

Today in History: April 12

North Carolina Advocates Independence

The Manner in which the American Colonies Declared themselves INDEPENDENT of the King of ENGLAND [detail],
William Hamilton and George Noble, 1783.
Documents from the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention, 1774-1789

On April 12, 1776, North Carolina's Provincial Congress authorized its delegates to the Second Continental Congress to vote for independence. The first formal call for American sovereignty, the "Halifax Resolves" not only guided North Carolina representatives, but also encouraged the Continental Congress to champion independence. Virginia directed its delegates to submit a resolution for independence. Richard Henry Lee introduced such a resolution on June 7, 1776, stating that the colonies "are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States."

The "Halifax Resolves," like the later Declaration of Independence, carefully delineated grievances against the mother country. By highlighting misdeeds perpetrated by the Crown, the colonists justified severing the relationship between themselves and Great Britain. Both the "Halifax Resolves" and the Declaration of Independence demonstrate the radical nature of the move toward independence.

Use the following Library of Congress resources to learn more about the era of independence: