Prior to 1774, North Carolina did not appear to be ripe for
revolution. The wealthy Albemarle merchants and planters who had
dominated political process in the colonial legislature had more
in common with their sovereign across the sea than they did with
firebrands in Boston. Dependent on England for manufactured
goods, the residents of the Albemarle Region went along with
their sister colony's opposition of English taxation and
regulation laws only when war seemed inevitable.
In 1773, when a series of harsh English laws and subsequent
violence rocked the northern colonies, Albemarle leaders were
quick to join the chorus of voices and actions of protest.
Following the Boston Tea Party in December 1773, which resulted
in closure of the port of Boston, 47 Albemarle area women met at
the home of Elizabeth King in Edenton and affixed their
signatures to an "Association," promising to uphold their
Once war broke out in 1775, North Carolina moved towards
supporting independence from Britain. Finally, on April 12,
1776, North Carolina authorized her delegates to the Continental
Congress to vote for independence. This was the first official
action by a colony calling for independence. The 83 delegates
present in Halifax at the Fourth Provincial Congress unanimously
adopted the document called the Halifax Resolves.
The Halifax Resolves were important not only because they were
the first official action calling for independence, but also
because they were not unilateral recommendations. They were
instead recommendations directed to all the colonies and their
delegates assembled at the Continental Congress in Philadelphia.
The Albemarle region managed to escape military action during
the war, even though Cornwallis marched through the western
reaches of the region in 1781 on his way to Yorktown.