Mecklenburg Resolves, Bold Step Toward Independence

On May 31, 1775, a committee led by Thomas Polk met at the Mecklenburg County Courthouse, in the heart of Charlotte at present-day Trade and Tryon Streets, to adopt the Mecklenburg Resolves.

Unlike the widely disputed “Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence,” the authenticity of the resolves is not in question. This was a radical set of resolutions, denying the authority of Parliament over the colonies and investing that power in the Provincial Congress, meeting that same week in New Bern.

In the absence of an operational new government, the resolves set up some basic tenets. Anyone who received or exercised a commission from the Crown was deemed an “enemy to his country” and subject to arrest. The county’s militia companies were ordered to arm themselves and maintain vigilance.

The Mecklenburg Resolves were published in full in the North Carolina Gazette in June 1775, and received wide circulation. Others took note, and similar resolves were adopted in Wilmington on June 19, in Fayetteville on June 30 and in Pitt County on July 1.

This was all a prelude to the Halifax Resolves, signed by delegates to the Fourth Provincial Congress on April 12, 1776, voicing support for independence for all colonies.

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