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“We as a free people, have the right to stand up to an oppressor.” The colonists didn’t just declare war-- they felt the need to justify themselves. Written in 1776, the Declaration of Independence asserted that as a free people they had the right to overthrow an unjust ruler-- a shocking idea at the time. In making this claim, they were influenced by the writings of philosopher John Locke, who was the second major ideological influence on the American colonists.
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