one people

The Declaration refers to the people of the United States of America as "one people." This implies that the new United States is a single country. The same is implied by the phrase "our constitution" (singular, not plural) in line 38. However, the conclusion of the Declaration asserts that we are "free and independent states" (plural). The question of whether America was one people, or a baker's dozen of separate sovereignties, was a divisive issue in American politics until the Civil War. From the Declaration alone we may conclude that the several states are independent of each other in certain respects, and independent of Britain in all. The states are "united" into "one people," whose Declaration established a single nation, represented by a single Congress. The "United States" is/are sovereign in the realm of their internal domestic affairs, but a single political entity in its/their dealings with the outside world.