The Halifax Resolves





    
    
    The Halifax Resolves is the name later given to a resolution adopted by the Fourth 
    Provincial Congress of the Province of North Carolina on April 12, 1776, during the 
    American Revolution. The resolution helped pave the way for the United States 
    Declaration of Independence.
    
    The Halifax Resolves, so-named because the North Carolina Provincial Congress 
    met in Halifax County, were part of a movement in the colonies in which advocates 
    of separation from Great Britain sought to mobilize public support for a declaration 
    of independence. The primary impediment to declaring independence was that many 
    delegates to the Second Continental Congress were not authorized by their home 
    governments to take any action that would lead to independence. Advocates of 
    independence therefore sought to revise the instructions of each congressional 
    delegation and remove any restrictions regarding a declaration of independence.
    
    The Halifax Resolves empowered North Carolina's delegates to the Second Continental 
    CongressóJoseph Hewes, William Hooper, and John Pennóto join with those from 
    other colonies to declare independence from British rule. The 83 delegates present at 
    the Fourth Provincial Congress unanimously adopted the resolves, which also encouraged 
    delegates from all the colonies to the Continental Congress to declare independence. 
    North Carolina became the first colony to explicitly permit their delegates to vote in 
    favor of independence.
    
    Although the Halifax Resolves permitted the North Carolina delegation to join in a 
    declaration of independence, they stopped short of instructing North Carolina's delegates 
    to introduce a resolution of independence in Congress. This step was taken by the colony 
    of Virginia the following month, with the adoption of the Lee resolution by the Virginia 
    Convention, which led directly to Congress issuing the United States Declaration of 
    Independence.
    
    Every year, on April 12, the Historic Halifax State Historic Site celebrates Halifax Day. 
    Interpreters in period costumes guide tours of historic buildings, and demonstrate crafts 
    such as quill writing, butter churning, quilt making and other colonial activities. 
    Occasionally, reenactors portray Revolutionary era soldiers and demonstrate use of historic 
    weapons during the Halifax Day events.
    
    
    
    Original Text
    
    THE HALIFAX RESOLUTION 
    
    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, 
    to wit, 
    
    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 uncontrouled; and disregarding their humble 
    Petitions for Peace, Liberty and safety, have made divers Legislative Acts, denouncing War 
    Famine and every Species of Calamity against the Continent in General. That British Fleets and 
    Armies have been and still are 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 from easy 
    Circumstances 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 Opinion that the house should 
    enter into the following Resolve to wit, 
    
    Resolved that the delegates for this Colony in the Continental Congress be impowered to concur with 
    the delegates of the other Colonies in declaring Independency, and forming foreign Alliances, reserving 
    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 (under the direction of a general Representation thereof) to meet 
    the delegates of the other Colonies for such purposes as shall be hereafter pointed out
    
    

    Back to North Carolina Resolves

    Back to NC in the Revolutionary War Home Page

    © 2005-2011  Diane Siniard