The ideal of republican self-rule played an important part in the political struggles and debates of eighteenth-century America. Thomas Paine and Thomas Jefferson used republican arguments during the American Revolution to justify independence from Great Britain, and the Founding Fathers drafted a republican constitution in 1787. In 1776, when he was a member of the Continental Congress, John Adams (1735–1826) wrote the following selection, Thoughts on Government, in which he expounds and defends the principles of republican government.