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02.01 Revolutionary Ideas: ObjectivesHow Do You Define Independence?In your life, you may be gaining some measure of independence as you grow and mature. Independence is having the power to make your own choices that determine the course of your life. You are evaluating and developing the principles you will use to guide those choices. In this lesson, you will learn about the principles that the American colonists held and the impact these principles had on the colonists' decision to become independent from Great Britain.02.01 Revolutionary Ideas: Principles from the PastWhat Ideas Shaped How the Colonists Thought About Government?American colonists inherited most of their ideas and principles about government from Great Britain, the Enlightenment, and ancient history. The history of Ancient Greece and Rome inspired Enlightenment philosophers to write about the ideas of democracy and a republic. John Locke had probably the greatest influence of these philosophers on Americans. He wrote about natural rights, social contract, and popular sovereignty. Educated American colonial leaders read widely about governments and history.The roots of American government derive from Great Britain, since Great Britain ruled over the colonies and many of the colonists were British citizens. Great Britain had already adopted many of these ideas into its own government, including limiting the power of the monarch to give more power to elected officials who would represent the people's interests.02.01 Revolutionary Ideas: Change for the Colonies
How Did Governance in the Colonies Change?As people settled the American colonies in the 1600s, they had charters from Great Britain that outlined their purposeand governance. Some were set up as an economic venture, while others focused on building a different society. Thecolonies received little oversight from Great Britain for nearly 200 years, yet most colonists considered themselves British citizens.By the 1760s, British policy began to change. The French and Indian War, fought on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, put Great Britain into heavy debt. The government's expectation was that the colonists should help with the financial burden of the war, since some of the debt derived from defense of the colonies. The colonists rejected and protested the taxes and policies placed on them, not only as a fundamental change to how the colonies had been governed but also as a slight on their status as British subjects. Taxes and trade restrictions hurt merchants, who in turn had to