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This article is from the Encyclopedia of North Carolina edited by William S. Powell. Copyright © 2006 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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"First in Freedom"

by Ginny Orvedahl, 2006

Crest of John Harvey. Image from The North Carolina Booklet, July 1909."First in Freedom" is a slogan referring to the action of an assembly of representatives in colonial North Carolina that adopted a nonimportation agreement on 2 Nov. 1769. This document "took measures for preserving the true and essential interests of the province," according to Assembly Speaker John Harvey. The action was in line with the sentiments of many other colonies, which were resisting such measures as the Stamp Act, an act allowing Parliament the right to levy taxes in the colonies. This was reputedly the first time such a legislative body took action in protest of Parliament's right to tax the colonies. Some historians believe that the slogan "First in Freedom" refers to the Halifax Resolves, the first official state action urging a declaration of independence from England.


Hugh T. Lefler and William S. Powell, Colonial North Carolina: A History (1973).

Powell, North Carolina through Four Centuries (1989).

Additional Resources:

Connor, R. D. W. History of North Carolina. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co. 1919.

Connor, R. D. W. "John Harvey" The North Carolina Booklet 8. Number 1. July 1908. p. 3-42.,14116 (accessed August 16, 2012).

Image Credits:

Crest of John Harvey. Image from The North Carolina Booklet 8, number 1,  July 1908.,14116




I was born in North Carolina in 1980; wherein First in Flight, wherewith the Wright Brothers. First in Freedom came thereafter, before
2016 sounds preposterous.


First in Freedom did not come after the Wright Brothers in Kitty Hawk. That was in 1906. First in Freedom was in the 1700's.

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