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Mecklenburg Resolves

North Carolina SealAccording to North Carolinian lore, some citizens of Mecklenburg County gathered in Charlotte on May 20, 1775 and signed a declaration of independence from Britain — the first such move in the American colonies. Documentary evidence of this event, however, is lacking. The story was popularized in later years by some old-timers who claimed to have been signatories. The document itself was alleged to have burned in a fire in 1800, but the date of the event was memorialized on the state seal. Regardless of whether the "Meck Dec" actually existed or not, the historical record does support a later meeting on May 31, 1775 in which the Mecklenburg Committee of Safety adopted a series of resolutions. Variously known as the Mecklenburg Resolves or the Charlotte Town Resolves, they provided for the following:

  • All laws originating from the king or Parliament were voided
  • The actions of royal military and civil officials was suspended
  • A call was put out to the other colonies to begin governing themselves through provincial congresses
  • Royal officials who continued in their duties in North Carolina were to be arrested.
These resolutions were sent to the North Carolina delegation at the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia where they were received, but never presented to the full assembly. The Mecklenburg Resolves were drafted a month after Lexington and Concord, but more than a year before the Declaration of Independence, and are indicative of the changing attitudes that many Americans held regarding their ties with the mother country.
See timeline of the War of Independence.