The latter half of the eighteenth century AD witnessed two significant events which shaped the modern world. These were the American and the French Revolutions. These two movements charted the future course of history of most countries of the world.
The American Revolution was the first-ever organized movement in the world where people asserted the right to rule themselves. The revolution involved the English government and the thirteen colonies of North America. The people who had settled these colonies had originally come from England.
However, they were treated unfairly by the English government, which ruled over these thirteen colonies. These people were denied many of the rights which the Englishmen living in England enjoyed. They had to pay much higher taxes and many restrictions on trade were imposed on them they were also not represented in the administrative set-up established for the colonies. All these factors distanced the people of the colonies from the mother country, England. These people began to think of themselves as belonging to a separate nation- America.
The fundamental principle that guided the people of the colonies was that all men are equal and have some basic human rights. What this meant in practice was that they expected to be treated as free citizens having the right to live as they pleased, earn a living in any way they liked and raise their voices against any kind of injustice.
On 4 July 1776, the representatives of all the thirteen colonies met at Philadelphia and adopted the Declaration of Independence. It was a document written by Thomas Jefferson and stated that all men are created equal and have the right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. The declaration also asserted the right of the people to form their own government.
This assertion of independence by the colonies started the American Revolution or the War of American Independence. In the end, the colonies emerged victorious. They became independent and called themselves the United States of America (USA). A constitution was framed which declared America a republic. An integral part of this constitution was the Bill of Rights, which guaranteed to the American citizens the right to freedom of speech, religion and justice.