Independence is a condition of a nation, country, or state in which its residents and population, or some portion thereof, exercise self-government, and usually sovereignty, over the territory. The opposite of independence is a dependent territory. Independence does not necessarily mean freedom.
Whether the attainment of independence is different from revolution has long been contested, and has often been debated over the question of violence as a legitimate means to achieving sovereignty. While some revolutions seek and achieve national independence, others aim only to redistribute power — with or without an element of emancipation, such as in democratization — within a state, which as such may remain unaltered. Nation-states have been granted independence without any revolutionary acts. The Russian October Revolution, for example, was not intended to seek national independence (though it merely transformed government for much of the former Russian Empire, it did result in independence for Poland, Finland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia). However, the American Revolutionary War was intended to achieve independence from the beginning. Causes for a country or province wishing to seek independence are many. The means can extend from peaceful demonstrations, like in the case of the Indian independence movement, to a violent civil war.