Natural rights - The concept that all people "are endowed by their Creator with ... life, liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness" was not invented by the writers of the Declaration of Independence. The idea of natural, or God-given rights was promoted by earlier writers, most notably John Locke (1632-1704) in his Two Treaties of Government (1690).
Navigation Acts (1650-1750) - These were a series of laws which regulated trade and restricted colonial manufacturing. The earlier laws forbade the shipping of colonial goods on anything but British or American ships; required that certain goods, including tobacco, indigo, sugar, rice, furs, and naval stores, be sold only to England; and declared that European goods being sent to the colonies had to be sent to England first, where duties were added to the price, then shipped to the colonies on British ships. Later on, other laws were added to the Navigation Acts, including the Molasses Act (1733), the Woolen Act (1699), the Hat Act (1732), and the Iron Act (1750). These laws were poorly enforced until around 1763. In 1764, along with the passing of the Sugar Act, George Grenville, First Lord of the Treasury in Britain (April 1763-July 1765), made a greater attempt to enforce the Navigation Acts by sending more customs officers to the colonies and setting up royal inspectors and naval patrols to eliminate smuggling.
Nonimportation agreement - As a protest against the Stamp Act (1765), colonial merchants signed nonimportation agreements, binding them to maintain a boycott of British goods until Parliament repealed the Act.