It may have come down to an anonymous person.
The National Archives claim Thomas Jefferson’s
original rough draft of the Declaration of Independence,
written in June 1776, coined the term, stating 'A Declaration by
the Representatives of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA in General
But beginning in March 1776 (three months
before Jefferson), a series of
anonymously written articles began appearing in the newspaper,
The Virginia Gazette, published in Williamsburg, with the
author signing off simply as 'A Planter.' In those days, it
was common for articles to be published anonymously as their
authors feared being charged with treason for voicing
One essay reads: 'What a prodigious sum
for the united states of America to give up for the sake of a
peace, that, very probably, itself would be one of the greatest
misfortunes!' – A PLANTER.
Even Thomas Paine in his famous book,
Common Sense, uses the terms 'United Colonies,' 'American
states,' and 'Free and Independent States of America,' but never
uses the full form.
The secret person known as 'A Planter'
well have been one of our founding fathers, but we may never