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Mecklenburg Declaration of Independance


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The Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence is a resolution allegedly proclaimed at Charlotte, North Carolina, by the Committee of citizens of Mecklenburg County on May 20, 1775.

May 20 was the day after news arrived of the battle of Lexington. The seal and flag of North Carolina bear that date, but the text may or may not have originated then. The citizens of Mecklenburg did adopt, on May 31, 1775, strong anti-British resolutions, declaring suspension from office of all crown officials. The document below may be a compilation, based in part on general recollections of those resolutions. Alternatively, it may be based on an original document and related papers that may have been destroyed in a fire in 1800.

On April 30, 1819, the Raleigh Register published the following document, said to have been adopted by the Mecklenburg Committee. Some of its phrases to are very similar to parts of the Declaration of Independence, raising questions as to whether one document may have been based in part on the other. Thomas Jefferson is not known to have heard of the Mecklenburg Declaration before 1819. Maybe the tale of the declaration of May 20 arose merely from the 1819 newspaper article. The declaration remains accepted in North Carolina as original, but without the support of any documentary evidence. Nearby Tryon County, North Carolina adopted a similar declaration known as the Tryon Resolves on August 14, 1775 that is known to be authentic.

The text of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence published by the Raleigh Register on April 30, 1819

1. Resolved, That whosoever directly or indirectly abetted, or in any way, form, or manner, countenanced the unchartered and dangerous invasion of our rights, as claimed by Great Britain, is an enemy to this County, to America, and to the inherent and inalienable rights of man.

2. Resolved, That we the citizens of Mecklenburg County, do hereby dissolve the political bands which have connected us to the Mother Country, and hereby absolve ourselves from all allegiance to the British Crown, and abjure all political connection, contract, or association, with that Nation, who have wantonly trampled on our rights and liberties¬and inhumanly shed the innocent blood of American patriots at Lexington.

3. Resolved, That we do hereby declare ourselves a free and independent people, are, and of right ought to be, a sovereign and self¬governing Association, under the control of no power other than that of our God and the General Government of the Congress; to the maintenance of which independence, we solemnly pledge to each other, our mutual cooperation, our lives, our fortunes, and our most sacred honor.

4. Resolved, That as we now acknowledge the existence and control of no law or legal officer, civil or military, within this County, we do hereby ordain and adopt, as a rule of life, all, each and every of our former laws -where, nevertheless, the Crown of Great Britain never can be considered as holding rights, privileges, immunities, or authority therein.

5. Resolved, That it is also further decreed, that all, each and every military officer in this County, is hereby reinstated to his former command and authority, he acting conformably to these regulations, and that every member present of this delegation shall henceforth be a civil officer, viz. a Justice of the Peace, in the character of a ‘Committee-man,’ to issue process, hear and determine all matters of controversy, according to said adopted laws, and to preserve peace, and union, and harmony, in said County, and to use every exertion to spread the love of country and fire of freedom throughout America, until a more general and organized government be established in this province.

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