If you look at the top of the Declaration of Independence, it clearly states at the top:
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The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
The bold part of the above indicates where the words were much larger and emphasized. Note that the word ‘united’ was not bolded, indicating that on the formal copy of the Declaration of Independence, ‘united’ was not enlarged or emphasized.
Many people believe that was the official name of nearly declared independent nation, but in reality, it wasn’t. Up until that time, the generally accepted name was the United Colonies of America.
On June 7, 1776, Richard Henry Lee submitted his resolution that led to the writing of the Declaration of Independence, he referred to the proposed independent nation as the United Colonies of America.
However, a few people did use the name United States of America, but it was not official. There is a lot of conjecture as to who first started using the name United States of America. Obviously, Thomas Jefferson was familiar with this name when he penned the Declaration of Independence, but did not write it in a way as to make it official.
On this day, September 9, 1776, the Continental Congress handled several official matters of business. One of them was to pay the Continental Army. In another measure, a resolution was put before the Congress which 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.”
The measure was overwhelming approved and the United Colonies of America officially became known as the United States of America. Colonies implied that they belonged to another nation or political body whereas States implied an independence free from the political control of another foreign power.
The States were declared to be independent, yet agreed to work in unison for the purpose of new nation. This is why the Tenth Amendment to the US Constitution was so important to them, as it guaranteed the States’ rights as individual entities and rights OVER the newly appointed federal government.
Sadly, today’s federal government has forgotten the Tenth Amendment and continually usurps the rights of States and the power granted to them by the Constitution and Tenth Amendment.
Sources for the above includes: Congress Renames the nation “United States of America”; Who Coined the Name ‘United States of America’? Mystery Gets New Twist; It Was 239 Years Ago Today: The Name “United States of America” Becomes Official; The Forgotten Irishman Who Named the “United States of America”; It’s All In a Name