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United States of America

United States of America

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. This name first appears in the Declaration of Independence, which is headed "The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America." Elsewhere in the document, the "united" is not capitalized, although the last paragraph states, "these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be, Free and Independent States…." On the same day that they adopted the Declaration of Independence, 4 July 1776, the delegates first used the name of the new nation in their Journals when John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson were elected to a committee "to bring in a device for a seal of the United States of America" (Journals of the Continental Congress 1774 to 1789, vol. 5, p. 518). The phrase "United States of North America" appeared in the Franco-American treaties of 1778 and occasionally was employed in official pronouncements. Congress resolved on 11 July 1778 that "United States of America" would be used on its bills of exchange, and it has been used since as the official name.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Journals of the Continental Congress 1774 to 1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1904–1937.

                              revised by Michael Bellesiles

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