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Karen Palumbo

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On This Day 5/31/1775
6/7/2011 6:15:23 PM

Mecklenburg Resolutions reject the power of the British in North Carolina


The committeemen of Mecklenburg County, North Carolina meet and respons to the news of the "Battle of Lexington" and the "Battle of Concord", the first battles of the "American Revolution", with a series of twenty Patriotic resolutions. This meeting gave rise to a lasting historical myth better known than the event itself.

In 1819, the "Raleigh Register" published a document that it claimed was the "Mecklenburg Declration of Independence" from May 20, 1775. Controversy continues regarding the declaration's authenticity, but it is likely that the so-called declaration was a misdated and edited version of the resolves that were actually recorded on May 31, 1775.

The so-called "Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence" printed in 1819 contained five resolutions. The first charges:

"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."

The second resolution:

"dissolved" Mecklenburg County's ties: to the
"Mother Country" and removed "all allegiance
to the British Crown," which had "shed the
innocent blood of American Patriots at
Lexington."

The third resolution declared the Mecklenbergers:

"a free and independent people."

The fourth and fifth resolution dissolved the power of all British appointments and called every officer in the country to resume:

"his former command and authority...until
a more general and organized government
be established in this province."

The myth of May 20, 1775 declaration is deeply entrenched: North Carolina's state seal and flag bear the dates May 20, 1775 and April 12, 1776.

April 12, 1776 was the date of the "Halifax Resolves", with which the North Carolina Provincial Congress empowered its delegates to the Continental Congress to vote in favor of independence from Great Britain. Despite the continued popularity of the "Mecklenberg Declaration" in popular lore, the less emphatic set of twenty resolves issued on May 31, 1775, which suspended the British Crown authority in North Carolina without overtly declaring independence, are the only ones confirmed to have existed by contemporary documents.



(K) (HST)



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