My State is My Country
The political underpinning of the American republic, State sovereignty within a federation of strictly delegated powers to the federal agent, was there from the beginning and present in the New England States as well as the Southern. Some 85 or so years later, some like Lincoln would proclaim a fiction that the union was older than the States themselves, and superior to them. Though many Northerners by that time had forgotten the nature of the federal union, the Southern people still recognized their States as their country.
Bernhard Thuersam, Chairman
North Carolina War Between the States Sesquicentennial Commission
"The Official Website of the North Carolina WBTS Sesquicentennial"
My State is My Country:
“With the calling of the [Continental] congress the question of what policy should be adopted toward Great Britain was transferred from thirteen separate political entities to a central body delegated to handle it. The delegates who converged on Philadelphia in the autumn of 1774 were the product of twelve rigorous schools of practical and theoretical politics. The internal affairs of their respective colonies and the external relations of those colonies with Great Britain had brought forth some remarkable theoretical disquisitions and inspired some extraordinary political strategy.
In their relations with one another the colonies had developed attitudes that can best be described by the term “nationalistic.” In spite of social, racial, and economic affinities and the cohesive force of the British connection, they had become practically independent political entities.
Each delegate thought of his own colony as his country, as an independent nation in its dealings with England and with its neighbors, with whom relations were often not as friendly. Instead of lamenting the absence of “national feeling,” one must recognize that it was therein an intense form, but in the form that is illustrated by the attitude of John Adams when he wrote of Massachusetts Bay as “our country.”
Essentially then, the delegates to the first Continental Congress came as the ambassadors of twelve distinct nations…and most of them came voluntarily as a result of certain forces at work within the colonies and of a common external force: the threatening power of Great Britain, which was taking the form of forceful attacks upon colonial liberty.
The attitude taken and the measures proposed in Congress were largely the attitudes and measures that had been taken in the individual colonies. But there was a vital difference. New measures were being considered by the colonies as a whole, and the decision of the Congress would be binding on all of them, not as a matter of law but as a matter of practical politics.
The New Englanders were an object of suspicion to all the colonies. They had been warned that if they showed any desire for independence [on their own] they would lose their influence in Congress. Writing of the relations between the provincial congress in Boston and the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, [Governor Gage says]: “expresses are frequently going from the one to the other, and they are very secret in both; and from what has transpired, there is opposition in both.”
(The First South, John Richard Alden, LSU Press, 1961, pp. 55-61)
My State Is My Country
My State is My Country