In June of 1776, Richard Henry Lee of Virginia presented to the representatives of the Thirteen Colonies a Resolution that stated:
“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 measures should be immediately taken for procuring the assistance of foreign powers, and a Confederation be formed to bind the colonies more closely together.”
It was ratified on July 2nd.
Two days later A Declaration was submitted by Thomas Jefferson that was to be our first legal document.
“In CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
By THE REPRESENTATIVES OF THE
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
In GENERAL CONGRESS ASSEMBLED.”