Halifax Day Celebrates Embrace of Independence

Independence: The "Halifax Resolves," first formal sanction of American Independence, adopted in this town. April 12, 1776.

On April 12, 1776, 83 delegates to North Carolina’s Fourth Provincial Congress, meeting in Halifax, passed a unanimous resolution now known as the Halifax Resolves. The resolves advocated severing North Carolina’s ties with England and indicated support for independence for all American colonies.

North Carolina became the first colony to officially commit such intentions to paper, striking the first blow for an independent America.

As the colonies joined forces to oppose British legislation, citizens initially asserted their rights as Englishmen against unfair taxation and exploitation. After events such as the Boston Tea Party in 1773 prompted a British occupation of Massachusetts, North Carolina and other colonies began to dissolve ties with England and create new systems of local government.

A reproduction of a portion of the Halifax Resolves from N.C. Historical Publications.

At the Fourth Provincial Congress, a committee led by Cornelius Harnett was appointed to draft a document declaring North Carolina’s support for American independence from England. Eight days after the congress convened, the Halifax Resolves were adopted.

Today, at least two original copies of the Halifax Resolves exist. One can be found in the State Archives. The other, sent to North Carolina’s delegates to the Continental Congress, is held by the National Archives.

The full text of the Resolves is available online from LEARN NC.

Visit: Historic Halifax State Historic Site

Other related resources:

Image from N.C. Historical Publications.

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