They were traitors to the King and the states were in rebellion. The war was not so much about liberty but more that the Parliament of Great Britain governed them without representation. They claimed that this violated their Rights as Englishmen. Boo hoo.
Fast forward 230 years and another Englishman (me) sits in DC, where (and well I never) he together with his American neighbors, are also being governed without representation.
Not much has changed then.