Led by Sam Adams, John Hancock and John Dickinson, states rights founders signed the Articles of Confederation in 1778. The Articles defined sovereignty, freedom and independence for each of the 13 original states.
Article I. The Stile of this confederacy shall be, “The United States of America.”
Article II. Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom and independence and every Power, Jurisdiction and right, which is not by this confederation expressly delegated to the United States, in Congress assembled.
Article III. The said states hereby severally enter into a firm league of friendship with each other, for their common defense, the security of their Liberties, and their mutual and general welfare, binding themselves to assist each other, against all force offered to, or attacks made upon them, or any of them, on account of religion, sovereignty, trade, or any other pretence whatever.
… In Witness whereof, we have hereunto set our hands, in Congress. Done at Philadelphia, in the State of Pennsylvania, the ninth Day of July, in the Year of our Lord one Thousand seven Hundred and Seventy eight, and in the third year of the Independence of America.