Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Resolution For Independency

Resolution For Independency

by Stanley Yavneh Klos

"The Union is much older than the Constitution. It was formed, in fact, by the Articles of Association in 1774. It was matured and continued by the Declaration of Independence in 1776. It was further matured, and the faith of all the then thirteen States expressly plighted and engaged that it should be perpetual, by the Articles of Confederation in 1778. And finally, in 1787, one of the declared objects for ordaining and establishing the Constitution was 'to form a more perfect Union.' " -- Abraham Lincoln First Inaugural

Even President Abraham Lincoln missed the fact, in his first inaugural address, that there were two Resolutions passed by the Second Continental Congress declaring United States Independence. The first resolution declaring independence actually preceded the Declaration of Independence, which most U.S. Citizens know was passed on July 4th, 1776. 

Students and Teachers of US History this is a video of Stanley and Christopher Klos presenting America's Four United Republics Curriculum at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School. The December 2015 video was an impromptu capture by a member of the audience of Penn students, professors and guests that numbered about 200. - Click Here for more information
American Archives compiler Peter Force wrote in his book, The Declaration of Independence, or, Notes on Lord Mahon's history of the American independence that:

The adoption of this resolution on the 2nd of July, 1776, was the termination of all lawful authority of the King over the thirteen United Colonies — made by this act of the Congress thirteen United States of America. The Americans now owed no more allegiance to England than they owed to Germany, or France, or Spain ; they were no longer rebels or insurgents ; they claimed their recognition as one among the family of nations of the earth, and they maintained and sustained the claim. It was in the end acknowledged by the King of England himself. After the 2nd of July, 1776, the English armies, with their Hessian allies, were the invaders of America, sent to reduce the independent States to unconditional submission to the Crown of England. And yet this day has no place in Lord Mahon's "history," the day on which was consummated the most important measure that had ever been debated in America.

Amazingly, in the 21st Century, the day the United States actually declared its independence still remains a mere footnote in United States history.

On June 7th, 1776 Virginia Delegate, Richard Henry Lee, brought before the Second Continental Congress of the United Colonies a Resolution for Independency for their consideration. The Journals of Congress report on June 7th, 1776:
Certain resolutions respecting independency being moved and seconded, Resolved, That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.

That it is expedient forthwith to take the most effectual measures for forming foreign Alliances.

That a plan of confederation be prepared and transmitted to the respective Colonies for their consideration and approbation.

On Saturday, June 8th, the Resolution for Independency, derived primarily from the May 15, 1776 Resolves of the Virginia Convention, was referred to a committee of the whole (the entire Continental Congress), and they spent most of that day as well as Monday, June 10th debating independence. The chief opposition for independence came mostly from Pennsylvania, New York and South Carolina. Thomas Jefferson reported that they "were not yet matured for falling from the parent stem." Since Congress could not agree more time was needed "to give an opportunity to the delegates from those colonies which had not yet given authority to adopt this decisive measure, to consult their constituents .. and in the meanwhile, that no time be lost, that a committee be appointed to prepare a declaration." [ii]

Resolved, That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved. 
That it is expedient forthwith to take the most effectual measures for forming foreign Alliances.  
That a plan of confederation be prepared and transmitted to the respective  Colonies for their consideration and approbation.

Resolved that it is the opinion of this Committee that the first Resolution be postponed to this day three weeks and that in the meantime a committee be appointed to prepare a Declaration to the effect of the said first resolution + least any time skid be lost in case the Congress agree to this resolution - Records of the Continental and Confederation Congresses National Archives
Neil Ronk, Senior Guide and Historian of the Christ Church Preservation Trust holds up John Dunlap's 1777 York-Town printing of the 1776 Journals of Congress flanked by NCHC Honors Students. The Journals have been opened to July 2nd 1776, marking the passage of the Resolution for Independency. - For More information please visit NCHC Partners in the Park 2017  

Accordingly, on June 10th the following resolution was entered into the Journals for consideration of the Delegates:
Resolved, That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and inde­pendent states, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved [i]
The Rhode Island Delegates summed up these events to in a letter Governor Nicholas Cooke: 
The Grand Question of Independence was brought upon the Tapis the Eighth Instant, and after having been cooly discussed, the further Consideration thereof was on the 10th postponed for three Weeks, and in the mean Time, least any Time should be lost in Case the Congress should agree to the proposed Resolution of Independence, a Committee was appointed to prepare a Declaration to the Effect of said Resolution, another a Form of Confederation, and a Third a Plan for foreign Alliances.
A Committee of Five was chosen with Thomas Jefferson of Virginia being picked unanimously as its first member. Congress also chose John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Robert R. Livingston, and Roger Sherman. The committee assigned Jefferson the task of producing a draft Declaration, as proposed in Thomas Paine’s Common Sense, for its consideration.

John Adams in his autobiography recalls this of Jefferson’s selection as Chairman:
Mr. Jefferson had been now about a Year a Member of Congress, but had attended his Duty in the House but a very small part of the time and when there had never spoken in public: and during the whole Time I satt with him in Congress, I never heard him utter three Sentences together. The most of a Speech he ever made in my hearing was a gross insult on Religion, in one or two Sentences, for which I gave him immediately the Reprehension, which he richly merited. It will naturally be enquired, how it happened that he was appointed on a Committee of such importance. There were more reasons than one. Mr. Jefferson had the Reputation of a masterly Pen. He had been chosen a Delegate in Virginia, in consequence of a very handsome public Paper which he had written for the House of Burgesses, which had given him the Character of a fine Writer. Another reason was that Mr. Richard Henry Lee was not beloved by the most of his Colleagues from Virginia and Mr. Jefferson was sett up to rival and supplant him. This could be done only by the Pen, for Mr. Jefferson could stand no competition with him or any one else in Elocution and public debate. [iii]
Jefferson's writing of the original draft took place in seventeen days between his appointment to the committee until the report of draft presented to Congress on June 28th. Thomas Jefferson drew heavily on George Mason's Virginia Declaration of Rights (passed on June 12, 1776), Common Sense, state and local calls for independence, and his own work on the Virginia Constitution.

Jefferson's original rough draft was first submitted to Benjamin Franklin and John Adams for their thoughts and changes. Jefferson wrote "… because they were the two members of whose judgments and amendments I wished most to have the benefit before presenting it to the Committee". [iv]

Thomas Jefferson's DOI Draft
Courtesy of the Library of Congress
Authenticate your Declaration of Independence Click Here

America's Four Republics: The More or Less United States

By: Stanley Yavneh Klos
Edited By: Naomi Yavneh Klos. Ph.D.

  • First United American Republic: United Colonies of North America: 13 British Colonies United in Congress was founded by 12 colonies on September 5th, 1774 (Georgia joined in 1775)  and governed through a British Colonial Continental Congress.  Peyton Randolph and George Washington served, respectively, as the Republic's first President and Commander-in-Chief;
  • Second United American Republic: The United States of America: 13 Independent States United in Congress was founded by 12 states on July 2nd, 1776 (New York abstained until July 9th), and governed through the United States Continental CongressJohn Hancock and George Washington served, respectively, as the Republic's first President and Commander-in-Chief; 
  • Third United American Republic: The United States of America: A Perpetual Union was founded by 13 States on March 1st, 1781, with the enactment of the first U.S. Constitution, the Articles of Confederation, and governed through the United States in Congress Assembled.  Samuel Huntington and George Washington served, respectively, as the Republic's first President and Commander-in-Chief; 
  • Fourth United American Republic: The United States of America: We the People  was formed by 11 states on March 4th, 1789 (North Carolina and Rhode Island joined in November 1789 and May 1790, respectively), with the enactment of the U.S. Constitution of 1787. The fourth and current United States Republic governs through  the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate in Congress Assembled, the U.S. President and Commander-in-Chief, and the U.S. Supreme Court.  George Washington served as the Republic's first President and Commander-in-Chief.
The entire committee reviewed the Declaration after Franklin and Adams's changes. After much discussion 26 additional changes were made from Jefferson's original draft. The Committee presented it to Congress on Friday June 28th which ordered it to lie on the table.

According to historian John C. Fitzpatrick the Declaration's
"... genesis roughly speaking, is the first three sections of George Mason's immortal composition (Virginia Declaration of Rights), Thomas Jefferson's Preamble to the Virginia Constitution, and Richard Henry Lee's resolution..."[v]
On June 29th a massive British fleet reached the entrance to the Hudson River. The British war fleet arrives in New York Harbor consisting of 30 battleships with 1200 cannon, 30,000 soldiers, 10,000 sailors, and 300 supply ships, under the command of General William Howe and his brother Admiral Lord Richard Howe.

Congress was called to order on July 1st at 9 am and they were made aware of the British Fleet's arrival in New York's Harbor. Serious debate consumed most of that hot and humid Monday. The following July 1st account is published in the Letters of the Delegates:
On Monday the 1st of July the house resolved itself into a committee of the whole & resumed the consideration of the original motion made by the delegates of Virginia, which being again debated through the day, was carried in the affirmative by the votes of N. Hampshire, Connecticut, Massachusets, Rhode island, N. Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, N. Carolina, & Georgia.
South Carolina and Pennsylvania voted against it. Delaware having but two members present, they were divided. The delegates for New York declared they were for it themselves, & were assured their constituents were for it, but that their instructions having been drawn near a twelvemonth before, when reconciliation was still the general object, they were enjoined by them to do nothing which should impede that object. They therefore thought themselves not justifiable in voting on either side, and asked leave to withdraw from the question, which was given them.

The Committee rose & reported their resolution to the house. Mr. Rutlege of South Carolina then requested the determination might be put off to the next day, as he believed his collegues, tho' they disapproved of the resolution, would then join in it for the sake of unanimity. The ultimate question whether the house would agree to the resolution of the committee was accordingly postponed to the next day.
On the morning of July 2, 1776 the New York Delegates wrote the newly elected Provincial Congress in NYC for instructions as the vote for independence was eminent.
Philadelphia 2d July 1776 - to the New York Provincial Congress 
The important Question of Indepency was agitated yesterday in a Committee of the whole Congress, and this Day will be finally determined in the House. We know the Line of our Conduct on this Occasion; we have your Instructions, and will faithfully pursue them. New Doubts and Difficulties however will arise should Independency be declared; and that it will not, we have not the least Reason to expect nor do we believe that (if any) more than one Colony (and the Delegates of that divided) will vote against the Question; every Colony (ours only excepted) having withdrawn their former Instructions, and either positively instructed their Delegates to vote for Independency; or concur in such Vote if they shall judge it expedient. What Part are we to act after this Event takes Place; every Act we join in may then be considered as in some Measure acceding to the Vote of Independency, and binding our Colony on that Score. Indeed many matters in this new Situation may turn up in which the Propriety of our voting may be very doubtful; tho we conceive (considering the critical Situation of Public Affairs and as they respect our Colony in particular invaded or soon likely to be by Powerful Armies in different Quarters) it is our Duty nay it is absolutely necessary that we shoud not only concur with but exert ourselves in forwarding our Military Operations. The immediate safety of the Colony calls for and will warrant us in this. Our Situation is singular and delicate No other Colony being similarly circumstanced with whom we can consult.

We wish therefore for your earliest Advice and Instructions whether we are to consider our Colony bound by the Vote of the Majority in Favour of Indepency and vote at large on such Questions as may arise in Consequence thereof or only concur in such Measures as may be absolutely necessary for the Common safety and defence of America exclusive of the Idea of Indepency. We fear it will be difficult to draw the Line; but once possessd of your Instructions we will use our best Endeavours to follow them.

We are with the greatest Respect your Most Obedt Servts.

Geo. Clinton.

John Alsop

Henry Wisner

Wm. Floyd

Fras. Lewis.
The previous day, John Jay had written to Robert Livingston that the New York provincial Congress had adjourned:
I returned to this City from Elizt. Town, & to my great mortification am informed that our Convention influenced by one of Gouverneur Morris' vagrant Plans have adjourned to the White Plains to meet there tomorrow.
Consequently, on July 2nd, the New York Delegates unaware of the adjournment received no speedy reply. Their letter was held until the New York Provincial Congress reconvened in White Plains. Robert R. Livingston responded to John Jay's letter well after the vote for Independence as follows:

I have but a moments time to answer your letter. I am mortified at the removal of our convention. I think as you do on the subject. If my fears on account of your health would permit I shd. request you never to leave that volatile politician a moment. I have wished to be with you when I knew your situation. The Congress have done me the honour to refuse to let me go. I shall however apply again to day. I thank God I have been the happy means of falling on a expedient which will call out the whole militia of this country in a few days-tho' the Congress had lost hopes of it from the unhappy dispute & other causes with which I will acquaint you in a few days. We have desired a Genl to take the Command. I wish Mifflin may be sent for very obvious reasons. If you see [him] tell [him] so from me. I have much to say to you but [not a] moment to say it in. God be with you.
The Second Continental Congress had opened on July 2nd as planned with New York unable to vote. The Pennsylvania Delegation vote became 3 to 2 yes for independence because Robert Morris and John Dickinson, who voted no on July 1st, chose not to attend the July 2nd session. [vi]

Despite a second British Fleet arriving in Charleston, South Carolina's harbor on June 1st, 1776, Delegate Edward Rutledge urged his fellow delegates to vote for the resolution. Arthur Middleton, son of First Continental Congress President Henry Middleton, shucked his father's loyalist wishes and joined his fellow Delegates in changing the colony's position from a July 1st no to an unanimous yes for independence. 

Finally Caesar Rodney, who was summoned by fellow delegate Thomas McKean, [vii] arrived suffering from a serious facial cancer and afflicted with asthma after riding 80 miles through the rain and a lightening storm. He broke Delaware's 1 to 1 deadlock by casting the third vote for independence. 

All 12 colonies, except for New York whose delegates were not empowered to vote, adopted the July 2nd, 1776 Resolution for Independency.
 Resolution for Independency which was passed on July 2, 1776.   

United Colonies of America, July 2, 1776 manuscript naming the historic resolution: "Resolution for Independency" which is clearly marked on this original Continental Congress manuscript passed on July 2, 1776. The roll indicates that New Hampshire was the first State to vote for Independence
United Colonies of America Resolution For Independency with roll call vote results written on the July 2, 1776 - Image courtesy of the Papers of the Continental Congress, 1774-1783; Records of the Continental and Confederation Congresses and the Constitutional Convention, 1774-1789, Record Group 360; National Archives
United Colonies of America roll call vote result written on the July 2, 1776 "Resolution for Independency" which is clearly marked on this original Continental Congress manuscript passed on July 2, 1776. The roll indicates that New Hampshire was the first State to vote for Independence. New York is not listed as the delegation abstained from the vote - Image courtesy of the Papers of the Continental Congress, 1774-1783; Records of the Continental and Confederation Congresses and the Constitutional Convention, 1774-1789, Record Group 360; National Archives.

John Adams would write 29 years later on this July 2, 1776 debate:

“The Subject had been in Contemplation for more than a Year and frequent discussions had been had concerning it. At one time and another, all the Arguments for it and against it had been exhausted and were become familiar. I expected no more would be said in public but that the question would be put and decided. Mr. Dickinson however was determined to bear his Testimony against it with more formality. He had prepared himself apparently with great Labour and ardent Zeal, and in a Speech of great Length, and all his Eloquence, he combined together all that had before been written in Pamphlets and News papers and all that had from time to time been said in Congress by himself and others. He conducted the debate, not only with great Ingenuity and Eloquence, but with equal Politeness and Candour: and was answered in the same Spirit.No Member rose to answer him: and after waiting some in hopes that some one less obnoxious than myself, who was still had been all along for a Year before, and still was represented and believed to be the Author of all the Mischief, I determined to speak.  

It has been said by some of our Historians, that I began by an Invocation to the God of Eloquence. This is a Misrepresentation. Nothing so puerile as this fell from me. I began by saying that this was the first time of my Life that I had ever wished for the Talents and Eloquence of the ancient Orators of Greece and Rome, for I was very sure that none of them ever had before him a question of more Importance to his Country and to the World. They would probably upon less Occasions than this have begun by solemn Invocations to their Divinities for Assistance but the Question before me appeared so simple, that I had confidence enough in the plain Understanding and common Sense that had been given me, to believe that I could answer to the Satisfaction of the House all the Arguments which had been produced, notwithstanding the Abilities which had been displayed and the Eloquence with which they had been enforced. Mr. Dickinson, some years afterwards published his Speech. I had made no Preparation beforehand and never committed any minutes of mine to writing.  

Before the final Question was put, the new Delegates from New Jersey came in, and Mr. Stockton, one of them Dr. Witherspoon and Mr. Hopkinson, a very respectable Characters, expressed a great desire to hear the Arguments. All was Silence: No one would speak: all Eyes were turned upon me. Mr. Edward Rutledge came to me and said laughing, Nobody will speak but you, upon this Subject. You have all the Topicks so ready, that you must satisfy the Gentlemen from New Jersey. I answered him laughing, that it had so much the Air of exhibiting like an Actor or Gladiator for the Entertainment of the Audience, that I was ashamed to repeat what I had said twenty times before, and I thought nothing new could be advanced by me. The New Jersey Gentlemen however still insisting on hearing at least a Recapitulation of the Arguments and no other Gentleman being willing to speak, I summed up the Reasons, Objections and Answers, in as concise a manner as I could, till at length the Jersey Gentlemen said they were fully satisfied and ready for the Question, which was then put and determined in the Affirmative.” [viii]

JOURNALS OF CONGRESS. CONTAINING THE PROCEEDINGS FROM JANUARY 1, 1776, TO JANUARY 1, 1777, York-town, Pa.: Printed by John Dunlap, 1778, 520, xxvii pp, - This volume of the Journals of Congress, opened to the July 2nd, 1776 proceedings, is one of the rarest of the series issued from 1774 to 1788, and has a peculiar and romantic publication history. Textually the Journals cover all the 1776 events, culminating with the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, an early printing of which appears in the Journals with the names of the signers, as well as the Resolution for Independency and all of the other actions of Congress for the year.

From 1774 to 1777 the printer of the Journals of Congress was Robert Aitken of Philadelphia. In 1777 he published the first issue of the Journals for 1776, under his own imprint. This was completed in the spring or summer. In the fall of 1777 the British campaign under Howe forced the Congress to evacuate Philadelphia, moving first to Lancaster and then to York, Pennsylvania. The fleeing Congress took with it what it could, but, not surprisingly, was unable to remove many copies of its printed Journals, which would have been bulky and difficult to transport. Presumably, any left behind in Philadelphia were destroyed by the British, accounting for the particular scarcity of those volumes today.
Among the material evacuated from Philadelphia were Aiken's printed sheets of pages 1-424 of the 1776 Journals. Having lost many complete copies in Philadelphia, and not having the terminal sheets to make up more copies, Congress resolved to reprint the remainder of the volume. John Dunlap the printer of the July 4th Declaration of Independence Broadside, unlike Aiken, had evacuated his equipment. Consequently, the Continental Congress appointed Dunlap their new printer on May 2, 1778. Dunlap then reprinted the rest of the 1776 volume (coming out to a slightly different pagination from Aitken's version). Dunlap added, under his imprint at York, a new title page along with a notice on the verso of his appointment as printer to Congress. This presumably came out between his appointment on May 2 and the return of Congress to Philadelphia in July 1778. 
John Adams wrote Abigail Adams on July 3, 1776:
Yesterday the greatest Question was decided, which ever was debated in America, and a greater perhaps, never was or will be decided among Men. A Resolution was passed without one dissenting Colony "that these united Colonies, are, and of right ought to be free and independent States, and as such, they have, and of Right ought to have full Power to make War, conclude Peace, establish Commerce, and to do all the other Acts and Things, which other States may rightfully do."

You will see in a few days a Declaration setting forth the Causes, which have impell'd Us to this mighty Revolution, and the Reasons which will justify it, in the Sight of God and Man. A Plan of Confederation will be taken up in a few days. On July 2, 1776 the Association known as United Colonies of America officially became the United States of America .[ix]
Consequently, it was the date of July 2, 1776 that John Adams thought would be celebrated by future generations of Americans writing to his wife Abigail Adams a second letter on July 3, 1776:
But the Day is past. The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America.

I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.

You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. -- I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. -- Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not. [x]

The start of the United States of America has been a matter of debate since the Second Continental Congress set July 4th -- and not July 2nd -- as the nation's “birthday.” Since then, historians have written volumes denoting July 4th as U.S. Independence Day, despite independence having been declared two days earlier with the enactment of Richard Henry Lee’s Resolution for Independency.

Clearly, the Declaration of Independence proclaimed why “… these United Colonies are, and, of right, ought to be, Free and Independent States …”[1] and its content served to justify the Colonial Continental Congress July 2nd vote declaring independence.  But why does this date, July 4th, override the actual day the 12 Colonies severed their allegiance to Great Britain?

Independence Hall with Ranger Jay holding the September 1787, American Museum printing of the U.S. Constitution and Ranger Ed Welch holding John Dunlap's 1776 Journals of Congress opened, respectively to the U.S. Constitution of 1787 and Declaration of Independence. - For More information please visit NCHC Partners in the Park 2017  

It was most likely the rhetoric found in the Declaration of Independence of Thomas Jefferson's draft, which was present for the Delegates inspection during the deliberations that exacted the vote for independence on July 2nd, 1776, from the 12 state delegations. Moreover, the July 4th, 1776, resolution also included naming the nation the United States of America, which was no small matter. The 1775 Articles of Confederation and subsequent Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms against Great Britain initially named the First United American Republic the United Colonies of North America. The name was only shortened by the Continental Congress to the United Colonies of America in 1776.  In fact the nation's name would be addressed again after the Declaration of Independence's enactment in the deliberations that framed both the Articles of Confederation in 1777 and the current U.S. Constitution in 1787. [2]  

On the other hand, it is also true that in Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence drafts, the word “States” was substituted for “Colonies” in the stile, or name, “United Colonies of America.” It is also true that Jefferson’s substitution was in accordance with Lee’s June 8th resolution that asserted the “United Colonies” were to be “free and independent States.” The United States of America name, however, would not be utilized on any resolutions or bills passed by Congress during the July 2nd - 4th, 1776 interval.    

We must, therefore, recognize the fact that the name was officially adopted until the July 4th, 1776 passage of the Declaration of Independence and not on July 2nd with the enactment of the Resolution for Independency. This circumstance, coupled with the nearly completed Declaration of Independence being laid before the members on June 28th and present during the July 2nd vote, perhaps explicates why the 4th and not the 2nd was designated Independence Day by the Continental Congress and was accepted as such by the then future congresses of the United States of America. 

Peter Force explains this conundrum writing:

The Declaration of Independence was adopted on the 4th of July by the vote of twelve States, the same that two days before had as Colonies passed the act of independence. On the 4th of July the Congress also ordered: 
"That the Declaration be authenticated and printed. 
That the committee appointed to prepare the Declaration  superintend and correct the press. 
That copies of the Declaration be sent to the several assemblies, conventions, and committees or councils of safety, and to the several commanding officers of the Continental troops; that it be proclaimed in each of the United States, and at the head of the army. " 
All this was done. It was also printed and circulated among the people, in all the cities, towns, and villages, wherever a printing press was found. It was read everywhere — in churches, in the courts, at all gatherings of the people, and in every private company and family circle. It was this universal diffusion of the Declaration that made the 4th of July the great festival day of the nation, instead of the 2nd day of July, the real birthday of American freedom. 
The United Colonies of America severed their allegiance to Great Britain on July 2nd, 1776. The new independent republic of free and independent states also enacted war resolutions[3] on the Second, Third, and Fourth of July before passing the Declaration of Independence. This Assembly, just like Carpenters’ Hall’s unnamed Congress,[4] formed a new United American Republic by enacting bills, resolutions and other legislation on behalf of their now independent states. 

July 2nd, 1776, therefore, marks the end of the United Colonies of America and the beginning of the Second United American Republic: The United States of America, Thirteen Independent States United in Congress.

Chart Comparing Presidential Powers 
of  America's Four United Republics - Click Here

United Colonies and States First Ladies


United Colonies Continental Congress
18th Century Term
09/05/74 – 10/22/74
Mary Williams Middleton (1741- 1761) Deceased
Henry Middleton
05/20/ 75 - 05/24/75
05/25/75 – 07/01/76
United States Continental Congress
07/02/76 – 10/29/77
Eleanor Ball Laurens (1731- 1770) Deceased
Henry Laurens
11/01/77 – 12/09/78
Sarah Livingston Jay (1756-1802)
12/ 10/78 – 09/28/78
Martha Huntington (1738/39–1794)
09/29/79 – 02/28/81
United States in Congress Assembled
Martha Huntington (1738/39–1794)
03/01/81 – 07/06/81
07/10/81 – 11/04/81
Jane Contee Hanson (1726-1812)
11/05/81 - 11/03/82
11/03/82 - 11/02/83
Sarah Morris Mifflin (1747-1790)
11/03/83 - 11/02/84
11/20/84 - 11/19/85
11/23/85 – 06/06/86
Rebecca Call Gorham (1744-1812)
06/06/86 - 02/01/87
02/02/87 - 01/21/88
01/22/88 - 01/29/89

Constitution of 1787
First Ladies
April 30, 1789 – March 4, 1797
March 4, 1797 – March 4, 1801
Martha Wayles Jefferson Deceased
September 6, 1782  (Aged 33)
March 4, 1809 – March 4, 1817
March 4, 1817 – March 4, 1825
March 4, 1825 – March 4, 1829
December 22, 1828 (aged 61)
February 5, 1819 (aged 35)
March 4, 1841 – April 4, 1841
April 4, 1841 – September 10, 1842
June 26, 1844 – March 4, 1845
March 4, 1845 – March 4, 1849
March 4, 1849 – July 9, 1850
July 9, 1850 – March 4, 1853
March 4, 1853 – March 4, 1857
March 4, 1861 – April 15, 1865
February 22, 1862 – May 10, 1865
April 15, 1865 – March 4, 1869
March 4, 1869 – March 4, 1877
March 4, 1877 – March 4, 1881
March 4, 1881 – September 19, 1881
January 12, 1880 (Aged 43)
June 2, 1886 – March 4, 1889
March 4, 1889 – October 25, 1892
June 2, 1886 – March 4, 1889
March 4, 1897 – September 14, 1901
September 14, 1901 – March 4, 1909
March 4, 1909 – March 4, 1913
March 4, 1913 – August 6, 1914
December 18, 1915 – March 4, 1921
March 4, 1921 – August 2, 1923
August 2, 1923 – March 4, 1929
March 4, 1929 – March 4, 1933
March 4, 1933 – April 12, 1945
April 12, 1945 – January 20, 1953
January 20, 1953 – January 20, 1961
January 20, 1961 – November 22, 1963
November 22, 1963 – January 20, 1969
January 20, 1969 – August 9, 1974
August 9, 1974 – January 20, 1977
January 20, 1977 – January 20, 1981
January 20, 1981 – January 20, 1989
January 20, 1989 – January 20, 1993
January 20, 1993 – January 20, 2001
January 20, 2001 – January 20, 2009
January 20, 2009 to date

Capitals of the United Colonies and States of America

Sept. 5, 1774 to Oct. 24, 1774
May 10, 1775 to Dec. 12, 1776
Dec. 20, 1776 to Feb. 27, 1777
March 4, 1777 to Sept. 18, 1777
September 27, 1777
Sept. 30, 1777 to June 27, 1778
July 2, 1778 to June 21, 1783
June 30, 1783 to Nov. 4, 1783
Nov. 26, 1783 to Aug. 19, 1784
Nov. 1, 1784 to Dec. 24, 1784
New York City
Jan. 11, 1785 to Nov. 13, 1788
New York City
October 6, 1788 to March 3,1789
New York City
March 3,1789 to August 12, 1790
December 6,1790 to May 14, 1800
Washington DC
November 17,1800 to Present

[1] JCC, 1774-1789, July 2, 1776
[2] At the Philadelphia Convention on May 30, 1787, Virginia Governor and member Edmund Randolph moved to rename the United States, the “National Government of America.”  This name would remain as part of the current U.S. Constitution draft until June 20th, 1787, when it was moved by Mr. Oliver Ellsworth, seconded by Mr. Nathaniel Gorham “… to amend the first resolution reported from the Committee of the whole House so as to read as follows -- namely, Resolved that the government of the United States ought to consist of a Supreme Legislative, Judiciary, and Executive. On the question to agree to the amendment it passed unanimously in the affirmative.” Max Farrand, The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1911.
[3]After the passage of Lee's resolution the Continental Congress enacted that "In obedience to their order, Captain Whipple and Captain Saltonstal were come to Philadelphia; Whereupon, Resolved, That the Marine Committee be directed to enquire into the complaints exhibited against them, and report to Congress."  On the third of July seven different resolutions were passed, and finally on the Fourth of July they “Resolved, That an application be made to the committee of safety of Pennsylvania for a supply of flints for the troops at New York: and that the colony of Maryland and Delaware be requested to embody their militia for the flying camp, with all expedition, and to march them, without delay, to the city of Philadelphia.”  All were enacted before the Declaration of Independence was adopted. Journals of the Continental Congress, July 2-4, 1776.
[4] On September 5, 1774 the delegates first assembled at Carpenters Hall but did not formalize the name of that body as a “Continental Congress,” until October 20, 1784.

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