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On this day in history, Sept. 9, 1776, American colonies named ‘United States of America’

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The United States of America were formally created by an act of the Second Continental Congress on this day in history, Sept. 9, 1776. 

The congressional decree stated: “That in all continental commissions, and other instruments, where, heretofore, the words ‘United Colonies’ have been used, the stile be altered for the future to the ‘United States.’” 

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“The moniker United States of America has remained since then as a symbol of freedom and independence,” states the National Constitution Center.

The phrase echoed a term first used with global consequence just two months earlier in the Declaration of Independence. 

The document begins by stating that it is “the unanimous Declaration of the thirteen United States of America.”

This undated engraving shows the scene on July 4, 1776, when the Declaration of Independence, drafted by Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Philip Livingston and Roger Sherman, was approved by the Continental Congress in Philadelphia. The words "all men are created equal" are invoked often but are difficult to define. 

This undated engraving shows the scene on July 4, 1776, when the Declaration of Independence, drafted by Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Philip Livingston and Roger Sherman, was approved by the Continental Congress in Philadelphia. The words “all men are created equal” are invoked often but are difficult to define. 
(AP Photo)

After enumerating a lengthy list of grievances against Great Britain, the 56 signatories stated: “We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America … solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States.”

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The Declaration of Independence remains today an international landmark on the road to human liberty.

Battle of Long Island - Retreat of the Americans under General Stirling Across Gowanus Creek (1877). Battle (also known as the Battle of Brooklyn Heights) fought on August 27, 1776, the first major battle of the American Revolutionary War to take place after the U.S. declared its independence on July 4, 1776. Engraving after a painting made in 1858 by Alonzo Chappel. From "Our Country: a Household History for All Readers, from the Discovery of America to the Present Time," Volume 2, by Benson J. Lossing. (Johnson & Miles, New York, 1877)

Battle of Long Island – Retreat of the Americans under General Stirling Across Gowanus Creek (1877). Battle (also known as the Battle of Brooklyn Heights) fought on August 27, 1776, the first major battle of the American Revolutionary War to take place after the U.S. declared its independence on July 4, 1776. Engraving after a painting made in 1858 by Alonzo Chappel. From “Our Country: a Household History for All Readers, from the Discovery of America to the Present Time,” Volume 2, by Benson J. Lossing. (Johnson & Miles, New York, 1877)
(Photo by The Print Collector/Getty Images)

The United States formally came into being while the young nation was barely clinging to survival.

The British had invaded Brooklyn less than three weeks earlier, with a dramatic amphibious landing at Gravesend Bay on August 22.

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The Redcoats routed Gen. George Washington‘s troops in the Battle of Brooklyn on August 27. 

His army survived only by escaping across the East River to Manhattan under the cover of darkness and a miraculously well-timed fog. 

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY, AUGUST 10, 1776, DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE REACHES LONDON

The Americans were badly routed through much of 1776, before Washington’s daring crossing of the Delaware on Christmas night led to surprise victory over Hessian mercenaries in Trenton, N.J.

Washington crossing the Delaware, near Trenton, New Jersey, Christmas 1776. George Washington, 1732-1799 — first president of the United States. From English and Scottish History, published 1882. 

Washington crossing the Delaware, near Trenton, New Jersey, Christmas 1776. George Washington, 1732-1799 — first president of the United States. From English and Scottish History, published 1882. 
(Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

“What Congress had declared to be true on paper in July was clearly the case in practice, as Patriot blood was spilled against the British on the battlefields of Boston, Montreal, Quebec and New York,” writes History.com. 

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“Congress had created a country from a cluster of colonies and the nation’s new name reflected that reality.”



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