The United States of America was not always know by its current name. Originally, people referred to nation as the “United Colonies.” On Sept. 9, 1776, the Continental Congress formally declared the new nation to be states instead of colonies. The declaration read:
“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 Declaration of Independence actually refers to the “United Colonies,” though it does state that they are “free and independent States….” By September, that document had been drafted, signed, printed, and sent to Great Britain. Declaring themselves the United States of America was a way to emphasize the country’s independence: a new name for a new nation.