I guess I'll start with this: Happy Independence Day! For non-US citizens, happy fourth of July, because it's a lovely day and every day deserves to be celebrated, even if it's not particularly special to your nation. :)
I thought I'd take a short moment to focus on independence, and what it can mean - not only for our country - but for our characters. What is it that makes independence and freedom so important? What effects does that have on characters?
Well, as for why it's important, I think that boils down to a basic human need. It's hard to explain, like the want for happiness or the need for love. Characters need it just like we do. Now, this isn't to say many characters wouldn't sacrifice a degree of freedom for wealth, peace, or security, many do. But there are those characters, the ones that hold freedom above and beyond any other earthly quality. How does this independence make them act?
A) Free. Well, yes, obviously. But this can mean rash, as well. Some rules are there for a reason, and a character desperate for independence may not care much what that reason is. Logic can be just as much a hindrance to independence as law, but often for better reasons.
B) Bold. This goes with the above. The character who has personally fought for independence may have a belief that any battle can be won with the right determination, planning, and fortitude. This may get your hero/heroine into trouble, but he/she may also achieve some astounding victories.
C) Afraid. I know this sounds contradictory, but freedom itself can enslave us - to fear. Think of all the protestors you know with signs saying that Muslims with free speech in America will destroy the country. (I'll give you a moment to cool your rage...) I feel this probably comes more often with the second (or third/fourth/etc) generation, people whose forefathers fought for independence.
What do you think? Can you think of any famous characters who have displayed the above qualities in their thirst for independence? Are there traits I missed? Let me know!