The most important and significant statement of American political theory is that made at the time when the United States asserted the right to an independent existence. Many indications of the Patriot theory are also found in the various declarations of colonial rights that were made on numerous occasions by legislatures or other less formal public assemblages. The argument with which the colonists began their resistance was constitutional in nature, involving the legal relations between the home government and the colonies. By some of the Patriots a distinction was drawn between acts of Parliament levying external taxes for the purpose of general regulation of the trade of the kingdom, and on the other hand acts levying internal taxes on the colonies. All men possess a group of what were called "natural rights". The belief in the state of nature, and in the freedom of man, was accompanied by the theory of contract as the necessary basis of all legitimate government.