On April 12th 1776, members of the North Carolina assembly adopted what became known as the Halifax Resolves. It called on their delegates to the Continental Congress to vote for American independence – making North Carolina the first colony to do so:
“The select committee, taking into consideration the usurpations and violences attempted and committed by the King and Parliament of Britain against America, and the further measures to be taken for frustrating the same, and for the better defence of this province reported as follows…
It appears to your committee that pursuant to the plan concerted by the British ministry for subjugating America, the King and Parliament of Great Britain have usurped a power over the persons and properties of the people, unlimited and uncontrolled, and disregarding their humble petitions for peace, liberty and safety, have made diverse legislative acts, denouncing war, famine and every species of calamity daily employed in destroying the people, and committing the most horrid devastations on the country.
That governors in different colonies have declared protection to slaves who should imbrue their hands in the blood of their masters. That the ships belonging to America are declared prizes of war and many of them have been violently seized and confiscated, in consequence of which multitudes of the people have been destroyed or… reduced to the most lamentable distress.
And whereas the moderation hitherto manifested by the United Colonies and their sincere desire to be reconciled to the mother country on constitutional principles, have procured no mitigation of the aforesaid wrongs and usurpations, and no hopes remain of obtaining redress by those means alone which have been hitherto tried, your committee are of the opinion that the house should enter into the following resolve:
Resolved – that the delegates for this Colony in the Continental Congress be empowered to concur with the other delegates of the other Colonies in declaring independency and forming foreign alliances… resolving to this Colony the sole and exclusive right of forming a constitution and laws for this Colony, and of appointing delegates from time to time…”