Free and Independent States: The Legacy of the Lee Resolution
Lee’s Resolutions: Free and Independent States
June 7, marks an anniversary that few are aware of, let alone recognize. On June 7, 1776, during the drafting of the Declaration of Independence, Richard Henry Lee, a forbearer of General Robert E. Lee, proposed what would become known as the Lee Resolution.
The Lee Resolution had three distinct points:
- That each of the Colonials seeking independence WERE free and independent States
- That measures needed to be taken to build diplomatic bridges to other world nations
- That a plan for governing be offered to all of the Colonials seeking independence.
June 7, 1776
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.
The first part of the resolution would find its way into the closing statement of the Declaration of Independence:
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, 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; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.
The second part would be the guiding principle that had the Colonies dispatching emissaries to establish diplomatic relationships with countries that may be in favor with the colonies breaking from the United Kingdom.
The final part of Lee’s Resolution led to the forming of Colonial Representatives that would create the Articles of Confederation.
Not bad for a day’s work.
Each part of the Declaration of Independence is vital. But Lee’s Resolution is the perfect ending to a document that is not only the very essence of our country’s founding, but our continued existence.
Resource Websites (that refer to the Lee Resolution):