Charlotte Town Resolves

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CHARLOTTE TOWN RESOLVES. On 31 May 1775, the Mecklenburg County Committee of Safety, meeting at Charlotte, North Carolina, drew up a set of twenty resolves, declaring in the preamble "that all Laws and Commissions confirmed by, or derived from the authority of the King and Parliament, are annulled and vacated, and the former civil Constitution of these Colinies [sic] for the present wholly suspended." The second resolve stated that the provincial congress of each colony under the direction of the Continental Congress was "invested with all legislative and executive Powers within their respective Provinces; and that no other Legislative or Executive does or can exist, at this time, in any of these Colonies." The committee then reorganized local government, elected county officials, provided for nine militia companies, providing for elected county officials, nine militia companies, and for ordering these companies to provide themselves with proper arms and hold themselves in readiness to execute the commands of the Provincial Congress. Any person refusing to obey the resolves was to be deemed "an enemy to his country." The resolves were to be "in full Force and Virtue, until Instructions from the General Congress of this Province … shall provide otherwise, or the legislative Body of Great-Britain resign its unjust and arbitrary Pretensions with Respect to America."

This revolutionary document must not be confused with the so-called Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence, the authenticity of which has never been established. On 30 April 1819, the Raleigh Register printed what was purported to have been a document adopted by the citizens of Mecklenburg County, meeting at Charlotte on 20 May 1775, in which they declared they were "a free and independent people, are and of right ought to be a sovereign and self-governing Association under the control of no other power than that of our God and the General Government of Congress." This Newspaper account was based on the recollections of old men, who insisted that there had been such a meeting and that the original records had been destroyed by fire in 1800. Thomas Jefferson denounced the document as "spurious," but its authenticity was not seriously questioned until 1847, when a copy of the South Carolina Gazette of 16 June 1775 was found to contain a full set of the Charlotte Town or Mecklenburg Resolves adopted at Charlotte on 31 May 1775. The available evidence leads one to believe that there was only one meeting. Confusion as to dates probably arose because of the old style and new style calendars, which differed by eleven days. The resolves of 31 May did not declare independence and they were drafted by the same men who claimed the authorship of the 20 May document and who, after 1819, insisted that there was just one meeting and one set of resolutions. Although the date 20 May 1775 is on the state seal and the state flag of North Carolina, most historians now agree that the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence is a spurious document.


Hoyt, William Henry. The Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence. New York: G. P. Putnams's Sons, 1907.

Lefler, Hugh T., ed. North Carolina History, Told by Contemporaries. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1934.


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Charlotte Town Resolves

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