The American Revolution began as a transatlantic dispute over parliamentary authority and policy, as American colonists chafed against British measures to reconsolidate their hold over their North American empire. This difference of opinion grew into a crisis of authority when colonists expressed their opposition by rioting, burning effigies of English officials, organizing vigilante associations, and pledging boycotts of imported goods. The colonists did not initially think of themselves as waging a war for independence, but rather believed they were defending their natural rights as Englishmen to resist misguided and corrupt government officials and representatives. With every new British assertion of authority, the colonists redoubled their activism, and the stakes got higher and higher. The colonists' faith in their sovereign, King George III, was dashed by his rejection of their appeals and his condemnation of their protests as an unlawful rebellion. Once they lost all faith in the righteousness and reason of the monarchy, the American Patriots rejected it outright and set forth not only to win independence but also to build a new kind of society in place of the old.