What happened to the colonial estates belonging to loyalists after the American Revolution?

What happened to the colonial estates belonging to loyalists after the American Revolution?

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What happened to the colonial estates of the rich, elite Loyalist families after the American Revolution? I assume they were just broken up and sold off to small farmers to appease some of the land hunger at the time.

In many (perhaps most) cases, their estates were seized by the states which had passed various forms of Confiscation Act.

The page Dispossessing Loyalists and Redistributing Property in Revolutionary New York on the website of the New York Public Library states:

"… many states passed laws allowing them to seize the property of known loyalists. So-called “confiscation laws” effectively criminalized dissent against the American Revolution. The seizure and sale of loyalist property also raised revenue for the state by redistributing property from Loyalists to the rest of the community. "

going on to note that:

"New York built one of the most robust property confiscation regimes."

To give another example, Confiscation acts in North Carolina would raise about £600,000 as the confiscated estates were resold (mostly in 1786 and 1787).

The article Confiscation of Loyalist Property in Georgia, 1782-1786, by Robert S. Lambert in The William and Mary Quarterly (Vol. 20, No. 1 (Jan., 1963), pp 80-94) records widespread confiscations of property between 1782 and 1787, netting the state some £410,000.

If you are interested in pursuing the topic in more detail, the subject of The Legislation for the Confiscation of British and Loyalist Property During the Revolutionary War was the subject of a 1937 PhD thesis by Rolfe Lyman Allen at the University of Maryland.

The issue of compensation for confiscated lands, and the prevention of future confiscations, was explicitly addressed in the 1783 Treaty of Paris where the fifth article stated:

"ARTICLE 5: It is agreed that Congress shall earnestly recommend it to the legislatures of the respective states to provide for the restitution of all estates, rights, and properties, which have been confiscated belonging to real British subjects… And that Congress shall also earnestly recommend to the several states that the estates, rights, and properties, of such last mentioned persons shall be restored to them, they refunding to any persons who may be now in possession the bona fide price"

While the sixth article required:

"ARTICLE 6: That there shall be no future Confiscations made, nor any prosecutions commenced against any Person or Persons, for or by reason of the Part which he or they may have taken in the present War… "

(the full text of the Paris Peace Treaty can be found on the website of the Yale Law School)

Unfortunately for those whose estates had been confiscated, by and large, the states simply ignored these provisions.

On an interesting side-note, a court case on the issue of confiscations (Bayard v. Singleton) would establish the principle of judicial review in North Carolina, and eventually in the wider American legal system.

The Strange Fate Of The Black Loyalists

IN THE EARLY summer of 1775 the rebeb of Virginia evicted their royalist governor, John Murray, Earl of Dunmore, from his capital at Williamsburg and drove him to refuge aboard a British warship. With only three hundred Royal Marines at his disposal, Dunmore lit upon a controversial recruiting stratagem. On November 7 he seized Norfolk, established his headquarters there, proclaimed martial law throughout Virginia—and went on to state: “I do hereby further declare all indentured servants [and] Negroes … free, that are able and willing to bear arms, they joining His Majesty’s Troops, as soon as may be. …” Within a week Dunmore had mustered three hundred runaway slaves into his “Ethiopian Regiment,” whose slogan, “Liberty to Slaves,” was presumed to represent British policy. Within a month the “Ethiopians” were sufficiently armed and drilled to put to rout militia under Col. William Woodford at Kemp’s Landing.

The colonists were horrified. “Hell itself,” wrote one, “could not have vomited anything more black than this design of emancipating our slaves. ” A flood of slave defections would deplete the rebels’ labor force, demoralize them with the prospect of imminent insurrection, and swell the British ranks with new recruits whose freedom, whose very lives, would rest upon the Crown’s fortunes. Ironically the British high command may have shared the sentiments that moved the colonists to outrage at Dunmore’s plan: in fact, the move had already been considered and rejected, and Dunmore himself appears to have slipped his offer quietly, even guiltily, into his proclamation of martial law.

Nonetheless, it had a profound effect. In early December Edward Rutledge of South Carolina wrote that it tended “more effectually to work an external separation between Great Britain and the Colonies, than any other expedient, which could possibly have been thought of.” George Washington branded Dunmore, his erstwhile friend, “the most formidable enemy America has.” Able-bodied slaves were withdrawn far from British lines, and threats of reprisal were published. Moreover, it was bruited that Dunmore intended to renege on his promise, and this, sadly, proved true. Far from representing a policy, his plan was only a temporary expedient. On December 9 Woodford’s militia avenged its defeat at Kemp’s Landing by beating Dunmore in a brief, sharp fight at Great Bridge. The earl razed Norfolk, retreated to his fleet, and harassed the coast for several months before retiring to New York and thence to London. He demonstrated his gratitude to the blacks who had fought for him by returning most of them to slavery in the West Indies.

The reluctance of the high command notwithstanding, younger officers along the coast became enthusiastic for the Dunmore stratagem they issued more such offers, which were met with equally enthusiastic responses. A “Company of Negroes” fought for the Crown in the New England campaign, and General Howe evacuated them from Boston in March 1776, along with the other Loyalists. This established an important precedent thereafter, the emancipation offer was taken to include an implicit guarantee of security. The high command finally carried practice into policy in 1779, when Sir Henry Clinton, the British commander-in-chief, issued the Philipsburg Proclamation. It pledged to “every Negro who shall desert the Rebel Standard … full security to follow within these lines, any Occupation which he shall think proper.” The runaway need no longer enlist in His Majesty’s forces but only in His Majesty’s cause to win freedom “under the Lion’s paw.”

The Americans could only underbid the Philipsburg Proclamation, reversing the interdiction against black enlistment and, in some states, bartering manumission for military service. (South Carolina, however, offered new white recruits a bounty in slaves: for privates, one grown Negro for colonels, three grown blacks plus a child.) By war’s end at least five thousand blacks had served the rebellion in arms, but far more—as many as one hundred thousand, a fifth of the slave population of the Thirteen Colonies—had thrown in their lot with the British. Ambitious and daring, these runaways braved militia patrols to gain the British lines or swam out to British warships some lived for years as fugitives before making their way to freedom. The black Loyalists were employed by the British as servants, military laborers, custodians of confiscated estates. Many followed their professions—shipwright, carpenter, coastal pilot—for in the days before the cotton economy demanded mindless field labor, slaves often received vocational training. Few actually bore arms, and numbers of them were simply left to fend for themselves. They did not expect to prosper at once and tolerated disappointment in the certainty of future reward.

CORNWALLIS FAILED AT Yorktown on October 17, 1781 in July of the next year the British evacuated Savannah and by November, Gen. Alexander Leslie was preparing to withdraw from Charleston. White Loyalists urged him to return all the blacks to their former masters lest the Americans retaliate for the loss of their slaves by refusing compensation for confiscated Loyalist estates. But at Savannah, as at Boston, the black Loyalists had been evacuated, and Leslie wanted to follow these precedents. He offered to return only captured and confiscated slaves, not those who had responded to the Philipsburg Proclamation. The Americans spurned the agreement, and so in the confusion of a hasty and unsupervised evacuation, five thousand black Loyalists set sail for other parts of the Empire, hopeful, as Leslie wrote, that “their past services will engage the grateful attention of the government.”

Leslie saw that Britain could fulfill the commitments of the Philipsburg Proclamation only by resettlement, for regardless of the outcome of the war, emancipated blacks could never hope to live freely and securely among the aggrieved colonists. However, no program for resettlement existed, despite the fact that Britain had advertised the proclamation by trumpeting the slogan “Freedom and a Farm.” Black Loyalists taken to the West Indies often fell back into slavery, and the few thousand who made their way to New York by way of Savannah or Charleston found no farms and only precarious freedom the evacuation of New York by the British was impending.

The black Loyalists had scorned the blandishments of their American masters and, at great risk, had sought to advance themselves as free souls. Indeed, such was the proclamation’s allure that many blacks already free took advantage of it and joined the Crown. But streaming into New York, a city teeming with frightened Tory refugees, where jobs were scarce and wages low, in which the last light of Empire was about to be extinguished, the blacks plunged instantly into desperate poverty. Public assistance was not readily forthcoming. White Loyalists, who had suffered considerable losses, held Britain in their debt they resented the black civilians who had lost nothing but their chains, who owed their freedom to the Crown yet felt themselves entitled to the Crown’s support. It was not the general view that blacks ought to be compensated for having been made slaves in the first place.

In May of 1782 Sir Guy Carleton had arrived in New York to replace Clinton as commander-in-chief during the last hours of the Revolution. To him went the melancholy assignment of supervising the withdrawal of troops from the Northeast and the evacuation of New York, England’s last foothold in the United States.

His task was made the more difficult by-Article VII of the provisional peace treaty, which provided that “His Brittanic Majesty shall with all convenient speed and without … carrying away any Negroes or other Property of the American Inhabitants withdraw all his Armies, Garrisons, and Fleets from the said United States.” Clearly this prohibited the evacuation of the black Loyalists from New York. Rumors, trailing panic, spread among the blacks that England would repudiate them. Slave owners did indeed converge on the city in search of runaways, and accounts circulated of blacks being seized in the streets or dragged from their beds. But Carleton was not to betray them.

ON MAY 6, 1783, Carleton and Washington clashed over the interpretation of Article VII during a stormy meeting at Orangetown, New York. Washington, chagrined at the flight of some of his own slaves, argued that “slaves which have absconded” remained the property of their owners and could not be evacuated. Carleton maintained that the Philipsburg Proclamation had freed all slaves who claimed its protection and that no black who had done so before November 30, when the signing of the provisional treaty had ended British jurisdiction in the United States, could revert to the status of chattel or “property” under the treaty’s terms. Carleton would surrender only confiscated or captured slaves or those who had arrived behind his lines after November 30. It was an audacious position, a triumph of justice over scruples, for the general knew perfectly well that the proclamation had never had the force of law, that the emancipation it conferred was entirely spurious, since British law and the colonial courts continued to recognize a right of property in slaves. But Carleton remained adamant and played his hand with a flourish:

“Delivering up the Negroes to their former Masters would be delivering them up some possibly to Execution and others to severe Punishment which in [my] opinion would be a dishonorable Violation of the public Faith pledged to the Negroes in the Proclamation. … No interpretation [of the Treaty] [can] be sound that [is] inconsistent with the prior Engagements of the Faith and Honor of the Nation, which [I] should inviolably maintain with Peoples of all Colours and Conditions.”

And he mooted the argument by disclosing that he had already sent numbers of black Loyalists to safety in Nova Scotia.

Washington seethed but reluctantly agreed that only confiscated slaves and post-treaty refugees would be returned, with compensation negotiated for the loss of the rest. Thereafter, from ten o’clock in the morning until two in the afternoon every Wednesday between May and November of 1783, a “Book of Negroes,” kept by a joint British-American commission, was opened in Samuel Fraunces’s Queen’s Head Tavern on the corner of Pearl and Broad streets in Lower Manhattan. In it were registered the details of each black Loyalist’s enslavement, escape, and military service. Blacks whose claims to freedom withstood challenge from the commissioners received certificates from Brig. Gen. Samuel Birch entitling them to transport from the United States. Over three thousand Loyalists enrolled in the Book of Negroes, and when they were offered their choice of resettlement in Florida, the West Indies, or Nova Scotia, all of them, mistrustful of the southern colonies, where the slave system prevailed, and having had no word of the fate of previous emigrants to the Caribbean, elected Nova Scotia.

These formalities gave reassurance that Britain meant to redeem her promises, and the blacks filed aboard ship without incident. On November 21 Washington crossed into Manhattan, occupying Harlem Heights in the wake of the British withdrawal, and on the twenty-fifth, as Gen. Henry Knox led the triumphal procession of American troops into Lower Manhattan, the last of the black Loyalists departed the new republic on what would prove to be only the beginning of an arduous quest for freedom.

Nova Scotia, wrested from the French in 1749, bobs alongside what was then British North America like a dinghy moored to the mainland only by the narrow isthmus of Chignecto. By the time of the Revolution, Nova Scotia, the northernmost frontier of European settlement in the New World, had become a dead end no longer crucial to the defense of the St. Lawrence, its economy had contracted, and numbers of its pioneers, many of whom had come up from New England, were trickling away to the Ohio Basin. The province remained a barely penetrated wilderness inhabited by peaceable Micmacs and fringed with half-deserted coastal villages. Never self-sustaining at the best of times, Nova Scotia’s circumstances were becoming perilously straitened by the reduction of grants from London. But then, with the success of the rebellion to the south, the province was presented an opportunity to repopulate with Loyalist refugees and thereby warrant increased aid.

Nova Scotia was hardly a choice assignment for a civil servant, and its officials tended to be men of small energy, content with such modest comforts as they could import to their cozy, isolated capital, Halifax. Presiding over the drowsy bureaucracy was Lt. Gov. John Parr, an Irishman so thoroughly unambitious that he had cheerfully conceded the title of governor to an absentee nobleman in order to keep his sinecure in this Siberia of British North America. Eager as he was to resettle the Loyalists in his bailiwick, Parr made no preparations to receive them beyond escheating a few abandoned grants (without bothering to ascertain why they had been abandoned). He had no idea how many Loyalists—fully thirty thousand—were crowding toward him expecting his logy administration to take prompt action in the granting of lands.

There were two primary disembarkation points for the Loyalists. One was at Port Roseway—soon to be renamed Shelburne—on the southwest coast about 125 miles from Halifax. With its picturesque little harbor, Shelburne was expected to become a focus of maritime commerce. A model city, complete with gridded streets and public commons, had been designed for the site. But before the survey could be completed, seven thousand Loyalists overran the district. On the other side of Nova Scotia four thousand Loyalists were unloaded on the shores of the Bay of Fundy they threw up a shantytown of sod houses at Digby near the Annapolis Valley, where the province’s richest farmlands lay. Digby and Shelburne were intended as trading centers only according to the government’s sketchy plans, settlers would receive quarter-acre house lots in the towns and much larger farm grants in the vicinity.

THE SIZE OF the entitlements and the priority of accommodation were exactly prescribed. Those Loyalists who had lost estates should be compensated first in proportion to their sacrifices after them, veterans of active duty were entitled to acreage according to rank—one thousand acres for field officers, seven hundred for captains, five hundred for subalterns, two hundred for noncoms, and one hundred for private soldiers. Civilians were entitled to one hundred acres for the family head and fifty for each additional family member. No racial distinctions were recommended. By government policy no Loyalist settler should work for wages, but all should establish themselves within three years as independent yeoman farmers.

The process of land-granting was tortuous prospective grantees had to submit petitions, which the administration processed with maddening slowness. The black Loyalists were to suffer not so much from overt hostility as from their own inexperience at manipulating dilatory bureaucracies—and from a touching innocence. They knew so little what to expect in Nova Scotia that some, arriving during the winter of 1783, thought the snowy capes were covered with salt.

The black Loyalists were not the first of their race in the province. Assimilated Moors had been among the crews of the Portuguese caravels that fished for cod in the Gulf of St. Lawrence during the summers of the sixteenth century some are said to have jumped ship and vanished among the Micmacs. Slaves had been imported to what was then New France as early as 1628, but the long and unproductive winters made the cost of keeping them prohibitive. Though little practiced, slavery remained legal throughout the eighteenth century. In 1772 Lord Mansfield had ruled from the Court of King’s Bench in London that “the air of Britain has long been too pure” for slaves to breathe by virtue of respiration all men were free under a British sky, but the colonial atmosphere conferred no such benefits. Wealthy white Loyalists brought their slaves with them to Nova Scotia, though this remained a guilty indulgence, and these slaves were euphemistically referred to as “servants.”

The omens were not favorable for the black Loyalists. They did not know that the “Company of Negroes” evacuated from Boston in 1776 had very nearly been exchanged for British prisoners-of-war. The status in law and society of free blacks was unclear, and a community that tolerated slavery could never completely endorse the aspirations of free blacks.

Immediately upon their arrival at Shelburne, black Loyalists were segregated from whites and their slaves, shunted to separate quarters, and required to perform public labor to earn provisions that the whites received gratis. Still, it suited the black Loyalists to keep their distance from the other refugees having shaken off their fetters, they held in contempt those who hadn’t and little wished to associate with slaves they liked to see themselves as a chosen people, an aristocracy. The most senior officer among the Black Pioneers, Col. Stephen Blucke, proved to be an appropriate leader. A man of considerable education, he was bumptious, grandiloquent, and sly. In August of 1783 Shelburne’s deputy surveyor showed Blucke the site for a proposed black township several miles from Shelburne and recalled that Blucke pronounced it acceptable to his “black gentry.” The first black ghetto in North America would be named Birchtown, in honor of Gen. Samuel Birch.

The largest contingent of demobilized Black Pioneers landed at Digby their senior officer, Sgt. Thomas Peters, actively petitioned the government for a separate black townsite, and in deference to these veterans Parr granted the request promptly. The enclave was named Brindley Town, and it was all the Digby blacks would ever receive. Few of the Birchtowners got their promised farmlands either (Blucke being a notable exception). Only at Preston, near Halifax, where blacks and whites were settled among one another, did more than a few black Loyalists receive farm lots their grants, however, were smaller than the whites’, the land was poor, and the blacks soon found themselves looking for jobs in town or working for their white neighbors.

By 1784 Shelburne, swarming with ten thousand inhabitants, was the most populous city in British North America. Most of its residents were landless and destitute. Disbanded white soldiers, surly with impatience, roamed the streets in search of work blacks from Birchtown began moving into Shelburne, where, because they would accept lower wages than the whites, they monopolized a meager job market already distorted by slave labor. Resentments ignited on July 26, 1784 Shelburne exploded in a race riot. White mobs pulled down houses with ships’ tackle and drove the blacks back to Birchtown.

The following year white Loyalists at Annapolis, near Digby, forced the Parr administration to grant their lands by “sitting-in” on the glebe and commons. But the blacks knew no better how to agitate in their own interests than how to shepherd a petition through a maze of bureaucrats. Though settlement lagged far behind schedule, rations were reduced by a third in 1784 and by another third in 1785 in accordance with the government’s three-year plan. Shelburne slaveholders, unable to support their bondsfolk, turned them out in the winter of 1784, and the Birchtowners took them in, pleased to affirm their superiority by dispensing charity despite their own poverty.

PARR’S ADMINISTRATION had never taken inventory of Nova Scotia’s arable lands and harbors and had no idea what it was bestowing on the Loyalists. By 1785 settlers had discovered the soil was too shallow, the growing season too short, and their farms too remote to support them all as independent yeomen. The country around Shelburne was little better than a swamp, and the pretty little harbor was ice-blocked or fogbound most of the year, unsuitable for heavy maritime commerce. Nevertheless, in 1787, precisely on schedule, government rations were withdrawn, and famine promptly ensued. Emergency provisions had to be hunted up and distributed. Homeless blacks died in the streets of Birchtown, and many slaves whose masters had evicted them (while retaining the option to reclaim them in better times) decamped for the United States. A contingent led by Thomas Brownspriggs fled north to Chedabucto Bay and Cape Breton Island. Over the next four years, emigration, starvation, and disease decimated the black population.

Under the stress of these vicissitudes, the black Loyalists gathered in around their churches. The Methodists, led by the blind and fiery Moses Wilkinson, attracted many converts in Birchtown and Preston, but the Baptists remained the predominant black sect. Self-governing Baptist congregations provided the black Loyalists with their only practical experience of political autonomy and reinforced their aspirations. The Anglican Church of England claimed only a few black members (Colonel Blucke was one), for the established church segregated its congregations and charged stiff pew fees. Moreover, the Methodists and Baptists emphasized personal revelation and inspiration. Each worshiper, little better than a slave in the world, became a prophet in church, for God spoke directly to these folk—and He did not speak directly to the Anglicans. Unfortunately, sectarian rivalries prevented the churches from uniting as a political force. It remained for a secular leader to precipitate the events that would save the black Loyalists.

By 1790 most white Loyalists were settled, but the majority of blacks remained landless, and their deprivation had come to serve provincial interests. They provided cheap labor and a reliable market for local goods. These wage slaves, virtual peons, bore the Nova Scotian economy unsteadily on their backs. In 1790 Sgt. Thomas Peters, unable to obtain his grant after seven years of trying, collected powers of attorney from 202 black families in Brindley Town and the province of New Brunswick. Backed by this personal constituency, he drew up a list of grievances and boldly set out for London to seek satisfaction directly from the British secretary of state.

On his arrival Peters found himself swept up and lionized by the abolitionist directors of the Sierra Leone Company. These men, bankers and politicians, had taken over a defunct Crown Colony on the west coast of Africa and were resolved to transform it into a profitable private settlement for British blacks freed by Lord Mansfield’s ruling. Peters’s tales of discontent among the Nova Scotian blacks suggested a new source of colonists. The directors saw to it that the newly appointed secretary of state received Peters’s memorandum what is more, they induced the secretary to send a letter to Parr reproaching him for his negligence, instructing him to satisfy the black Loyalists, and requiring his cooperation in the enlistment of black volunteers for the Sierra Leone project.

The company dispatched as its agent the twenty-five-year-old John Clarkson, a gifted idealist with a dangerous proclivity for romance. Tactless and intemperate, Clarkson accompanied Peters back to Nova Scotia, where he lost no time in antagonizing Parr, who was already testily defensive because of the secretary’s letter. Parr’s assistance was vital to the project, and though Clarkson grasped this, he seems to have treated the governor with chilly and consistent arrogance. He also alienated Peters, whose natural claim to leadership of the project Clarkson would never acknowledge. Peters wisely confined himself to recruitment in Digby and New Brunswick, consolidating his standing among those black Loyalists, while Clarkson worked the Halifax and Shelburne areas. The young agent secured the support and friendship of David George, a popular and courageous black Baptist minister who had braved white mobs to live and preach before integrated congregations in Shelburne. It was George who organized an assembly of curious Birchtown blacks at which Clarkson committed a fateful indiscretion.

THE YOUNG MAN had been charged, perhaps disingenuously, only to oversee recruitment that was to have been carried out by Parr’s appointed agents. But Clarkson, passionately sympathetic to the blacks even before his arrival, could scarcely restrain himself from advocating the project and soliciting volunteers. At the Birchtown meeting, intoxicated by the enthusiasm of the audience who, after all, had nothing to lose by pinning their hopes on Sierra Leone, Clarkson wildly misrepresented the venture according to his own vision of it as an experiment in social democracy rather than a private, profit-making enterprise. He promised no quitrents for company grants and claimed that taxes “for charitable purposes” within the colony would be the only imposts this created the impression that the company would operate only for its colonists’ interests and that blacks might govern themselves. He concluded by pledging his life to the service of the black Loyalists, who then burst into applause. Within three days six hundred blacks from the area had enrolled.

Parr had anticipated that no more than thirty families would apply from the province, but 544 persons volunteered from Birchtown alone, 200 from Brindley Town. Alarmed by the prospect of losing so much cheap labor and such a large market, white landowners agitated against the venture. Parr did his best to obstruct it but died of gout on November 25, 1791, and his successor proved more agreeable.

Between them, Clarkson on the west coast and Peters on the east induced over twelve hundred prospective colonists to assemble at Halifax, the embarkation point, during the late autumn and early winter of 1791. There, huddled in unheated warehouses and old barracks, they endured sickness and hunger with incredible forbearance, while Clarkson scurried around the city arranging shipping and provisions. He drove himself to exhaustion but accomplished the enormous task almost singlehandedly, while Peters and David George acted as his deputies among the blacks. Sectarian differences began to melt in the warmth of an incipient nationalism even Peters, who bridled at Clarkson’s assumption of authority, banked his ambition for the sake of the venture. The exodus finally began on January 15, 1792, when, nearly a decade after the evacuation of New York, a flotilla of fifteen ships bearing 1,193 black Loyalist’s sailed out of Halifax for Sierra Leone.

The colonists arrived in Africa two months later, and they began accumulating grievances almost at once. The chief complaint was the company’s governance, which disappointed their expectations of self-rule. Peters organized a rebellion that served only to rekindle sectarian rivalries the Methodists sided with him, but David George, faithful to his friend Clarkson, brought the Baptists behind the company. The uprising died down but certainly would have broken out anew had not Peters unaccountably ruined himself by being caught stealing from the body of a dead man. The sergeant who might have become the first head of an African state died soon afterward in disgrace. The black Loyalists, their dream of independence crushed, settled for wealth instead. Building from their original lands, they moved into trading and became a mercantile elite, while indentured native laborers, little more than slaves, worked their farms. They called themselves Nova Scotians to distinguish themselves from the Africans and emigrants from elsewhere in the Empire, and their sense of spiritual eminence became mere snobbery. In 1808 Sierra Leone reverted to the Crown, and by 1840 tax laws and property confiscations had eroded the Nova Scotians’ power. Eventually their bloodlines subsided in Creoledom, the popular culture of the immigrant blacks that survives in Sierra Leone to this day.

NOVA SCOTIA’S economy was devastated by the exodus from the black community. Stephen Blucke, who had disparaged the Sierra Leone project—and whose reward was to entertain Prince William Henry, later William IV, in his Birchtown home—misappropriated funds entrusted to him for black relief and fled to the Bay of Fundy, where, legend has it, he was eaten by wild animals. By 1832 Birchtown was a ruin, Shelburne virtually a ghost town. During the War of 1812 a new wave of black refugees, lured from the United States by offers similar to the Philipsburg Proclamation, arrived in Nova Scotia they encountered no better fortune than their Loyalist forebears and found no Clarkson or Peters to lead them to an African Canaan. They put down roots in the province and reestablished a black community.

Today that community numbers some ten thousand, but what Loyalist families might have remained after the exodus are largely submerged among the descendants of the 1812 refugees and the more recent arrivals from the West Indies. In eastern Guysborough County, however, and on Cape Breton Island the Loyalists who fled the famine of 1784 may have left a clearer lineage. Neither Clarkson nor Peters recruited here, and it is doubtful the Sierra Leone project was even advertised in these precincts. The blacks who came here dispersed among farmers and fishermen, settling on the perimeters of white communities, forgetting their African heritage, and adopting the folklore and language of the Europeans.

From among those who found refuge with the Scots of Cape Breton’s Skye Valley, Kipling probably drew the dour black cook in Captains Courageous who “called himself Mac Donald and swore in Gaelic. ” They can still be seen in the hamlets and fishing villages of northeastern Nova Scotia and Cape Breton, where the Appalachians glimmer out in the Atlantic —unexpected black faces that seem very far from home. These may be the last descendants of the black Loyalists, those wandering children of the American Revolution.


The number of Americans who adhered to the British side after fighting commenced is still debated. An American historian has estimated that about 450,000 Americans remained loyal to Britain during the Revolution. This would be about sixteen percent of the total population, or about 20 percent of Americans of European origin. The Loyalists were as socially diverse as their Patriot opponents but some groups produced more Loyalists. Thus they included many Anglicans (Episcopalians) in the North East, many tenant farmers in New York and people of Dutch origin in New York and New Jersey, many of the German population of Pennsylvania, some Quakers, most of the Highland Scots in the South, and many Iroquois Indians. [1] Many people with close business connections to Britain who lived in coastal towns remained loyal. Loyalists were most often people who were conservative by nature or in politics, valued order, were fearful of 'mob' rule, felt sentimental ties to the Mother Country, were loyal to the King, or concerned that an independent new nation would not be able to defend themselves. [2]

Some escaped slaves became Loyalists. They fought for the British not out of loyalty to the Crown, but from a desire for freedom, which the British promised them in return for their military service. (Other African-Americans fought on the Patriot side, for the same motive). The story of the black Loyalists is outlined, with references, later in this article.

The longer the Revolutionary War went on, the more fluid and dynamic the "Patriot" and "Loyalist" categories became and the larger the population became that did not fit neatly into either camp. [3] It is estimated that between 20-45% of the population were somewhere in the middle as "Trimmers' or neutrals who bent with the wind.

As early as 1774, the Loyalist Edward Winslow met secretly with the Royal Governor of Massachusetts, Thomas Hutchinson, who approved Winslow's raising a "Tory Volunteer Company", whose purpose was to protect Loyalist families from roving mobs.

Before fighting began, Colonel Thomas Gilbert of Massachusetts had already raised the first Loyalist military unit. This was a force of three hundred men, armed by the British. Gilbert stored muskets, powder and bullets in his home. Shortly thereafter, Brigadier General Timothy Ruggles formed a Loyalist military unit called the "Loyal American Association", also in Massachusetts. Loyalists in New Hampshire also were arming. [4]

However, Patriots were arming and drilling all over New England, and outright revolution broke out on April 19, 1775, with the battles of Lexington and Concord, near Boston.

Loyalists were present at the outset: British general Lord Hugh Percy's relief column, coming to the rescue of the redcoats retreating from Concord and Lexington, was accompanied by armed Loyalists in civilian clothes, members of a unit called Friends of the King. One of their number, Edward Winslow, had his horse shot out from under him, and was personally cited by Percy for bravery. Another, Samuel Murray, was captured but later released.

After the British were besieged inside Boston, Loyalist recruits inside the city continued to join the British side. After the Battle of Bunker Hill, Loyalist auxiliary units helped to maintain order inside the city. But that was all they were permitted to do, prior to the British evacuation of the city. [5]

The first organized Loyalist unit permitted to fight in a serious battle of the Revolution was Allan Maclean's 84th Regiment of Foot (Royal Highland Emigrants), who helped the British successfully defend Quebec after the American invasion of Canada in the last days of 1775. [6]

In 1776, Jonathan Eddy, a Nova Scotian who favoured the Patriot cause, got the blessing of George Washington to try to capture Nova Scotia for the Revolution. In November, 1776, Eddy, commanding a Patriot force of Indians, exiled Acadians and Maine Patriot militia, appeared at the gates of Fort Cumberland, Nova Scotia, and demanded its surrender. His plan was then to march on Halifax.

The fort was manned by the Loyalist Royal Fencible Americans. They repelled two assaults by Eddy's men, and were later joined by elements of the Royal Highland Emigrants, after which Eddy's invasion failed. [7]

Highland Scots who had emigrated to America overwhelmingly favored the king over the Revolutionary cause. In the South, most of the Highland Scots organized quickly in the royal cause. But they early on suffered a devastating defeat. In early 1776, under the command of Brigadier General Donald Macdonald, a substantial force of North Carolina Loyalists, possibly as many as five thousand, began a march to the seacoast to join a British assault on Charleston. However, on February 27, 1776, they encountered a Patriot force at Moore's Creek Bridge. The Patriots waited until an advance guard of Loyalists had crossed the bridge, then annihilated them with devastating musket and cannon fire. The Loyalists were routed. [8]

There were many Loyalists on Long Island and in New York City the city was sometimes called "Torytown". In August, 1776, the British commander, William Howe, 5th Viscount Howe, landed a huge force of British and Hessian troops on Long Island, and won a major victory that drove Washington's army from the island and the city of New York. Many Long Island Loyalists, wearing pieces of red cloth on their hats to show their sympathies, landed with Howe, and participated in the fighting. At the end of the revolution, Long Island was the major staging area for many Loyalist emigrant ships departing for Canada.

As his men abandoned New York, Washington had wanted to burn the city to prevent the British using it, but Congress forbade it. [9]

In the aftermath of the British victory, many Loyalists came forth to be organized into uniformed Loyalist regiments. The British called these "provincial" regiments. Loyalist militia patrolled the streets of New York. Loyalist spies were extensively used to get information about Washington's dispositions. By the end of 1776, about eighteen hundred Loyalist soldiers had been recruited, most from Long Island, Staten Island, and Westchester County. Brigadier General Oliver De Lancey, a member of a prominent New York Loyalist family, organized De Lancey's Brigade. The King's American Regiment was formed.

The popular French and Indian War hero Robert Rogers organized a Loyalist regiment which was very effective. By the end of 1776, seven hundred of Rogers' Rangers were raiding Patriot outposts in Westchester. Recently unearthed documents indicate that it was Rogers and his Rangers who captured the famous Patriot Nathan Hale. There was a clash between Continental troops and Rogers' men at Mamaroneck in October, 1776. Rogers was retired soon after, but his unit, now called the Queen's Rangers, went on under the command of John Graves Simcoe, to fight throughout the Revolution. [10]

As Howe's army burst out of New York, new Loyalist regiments sprang into being. One was the New Jersey Volunteers (Skinner's Greens) who wore green coats, as did so many other Loyalist soldiers that they were often called "greencoats". The Prince of Wales' American Regiment was also raised. The British continued to recruit in southern New York, so much so that "Tory" New York eventually contributed more soldiers to the British side than to the Patriots.

These men became part of an ongoing civil war in New Jersey and New York. Loyalists now sought revenge for injuries inflicted upon them while Patriots had been in the ascendant. Cruelty on both sides was commonplace. Many died. Kidnappings were also common. Loyalists seized Richard Stockton, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, and after imprisonment and cruel treatment, he broke down, and signed an oath of allegiance to George III.

A British commander called the unceasing Loyalist raids "desolation warfare". Another scion of the Loyalist De Lancey family, James De Lancey, raised De Lancey's Cowboys, which raided Patriot houses and farms. The Patriots paid the De Lanceys back by burning down a De Lancey family mansion. [11]

At this early stage of the war, the Loyalist soldiers were primarily used for guard duties and keeping order, or distracted with civil warfare.

On the northern frontier, Loyalists were often harshly treated, and they reacted in many instances by joining Loyalist military units, fearing that they could never return to their homes unless the British prevailed.

A number of influential Loyalists in northern New York quickly set to work building military forces. The King's Royal Regiment of New York was raised by the wealthy Loyalist Sir John Johnson. Large numbers of Iroquois Indians were recruited to the British side by the Mohawk leader Joseph Brant (Thayendenegea). [12]

In the spring of 1777, the British General John Burgoyne was ordered to invade northern New York by way of Lake Champlain. Burgoyne started south from Canada at the end of June, 1777, with a force of nearly eight thousand British regulars, German mercenaries, Loyalists, Indians and French Canadians. (There were few English-speaking Canadians at this time).

Burgoyne's plan called for the British Lieutenant Colonel Barry St. Leger, commanding a force of eighteen hundred, to capture the Patriot Fort Schuyler (Fort Stanwix) at the head of the Mohawk Valley. The British besieged the fort. On August 6, 1777, a Patriot force of eight hundred men, commanded by Colonel Nicholas Herkimer, set out to relieve the Patriot garrison at the fort. Herkimer's strung-out Patriot column was ambushed near Oriskany by a force of Indians, Loyalist militia, and the Loyalist King's Royal Regiment of New York. The Patriots suffered heavy casualties in the ambush, and Herkimer was severely wounded. The dying Herkimer propped himself against a tree and continued to command his troops in a battle which saw very heavy losses on both sides. At one point, a column of Loyalists turned their green jackets inside out as a ruse, and got very close to Herkimer's men this was followed by hand-to-hand fighting. The Indians finally fled, and the Loyalists retreated. [13]

Lieutenant Colonel Friedrich Baum's detachment of Hessian mercenaries, accompanied by Loyalists, Indians and French Canadians, was sent by Burgoyne in the direction of Bennington, Vermont. Their mission was to seize supplies. On August 16, 1777, the British column was met by a large Patriot force under John Stark. In the ensuing battle, many of the Loyalist, French Canadian and Indian positions were quickly overrun, and the defenders fled or were captured. [14] The Loyalist Queen's Loyal Rangers were shattered as a fighting force, with more than two hundred of their men killed, wounded or captured. [15] The Germans eventually surrendered, (and a relief force was driven off) in what was a major Patriot victory.

Burgoyne's invasion was now in serious trouble. His supplies were low, Loyalists were not rallying to the colors in the numbers expected, and a huge force of Patriots was gathering against him. At Saratoga, Loyalists, Indians and French Canadians acted as scouts and sharpshooters for the British, but the fighting ended with a decisive defeat for the royal cause—the surrender of Burgoyne and his army on October 17, 1777. [16]

The British general Guy Carleton, impressed by the ambush at Oriskany, authorized John Butler to raise eight more companies of Loyalist Rangers, "to serve with the Indians, as occasion shall require". This unit was Butler's Rangers. [17] Butler's headquarters were established at Fort Niagara. This gave the Loyalists access to the river valleys of northern New York.

The British now decided that raids upon frontier settlements were the correct path to follow. An early raid was made in May, 1778, on Cobleskill, New York, where three hundred Loyalists and Indians, led by the Mohawk chief, Joseph Brant, defeated a small Patriot force of militia and Continental regulars, then burned homes, crops and barns. [18]

In late June, 1778, a mixed force of Indians and John Butler's Loyalist Rangers attacked the settlement in Wyoming Valley, in Pennsylvania. The raiders were resisted by a force of inexperienced Patriot militia. These were badly defeated. The Loyalists and Indians devastated the whole area. Reports indicated that some prisoners and fleeing Patriots were tortured and murdered. One historian has said, "The Tories [Loyalists] usually neither gave nor expected any quarter, and when this vengeful spirit was augmented by the Indian propensity for total war, the results were almost invariably grim." [19]

Now Loyalists and Indians swept through the Mohawk Valley in "endless raids". In November, 1778, a mixed force of Loyalists and Indians attacked settlements in Cherry Valley, New York. The Loyalist commander this time was Walter Butler, son of John. Again, there was enormous devastation, and many civilians were killed. A contemporary account depicts Joseph Brant stopping some of Butler's men from killing a woman and child with the words ". that child is not an enemy to the King, nor a friend to Congress." [20]

In retaliation for all this, George Washington ordered a full-scale attack by regular troops of the Continental Army. Generals John Sullivan and James Clinton and Colonel Daniel Brodhead, at the head of forty-six hundred men, advanced on the Indians, their objective "the total destruction and devastation" of the Iroquois settlements. [21] A substantial blow to the pro-British Indians was achieved. [22]

Throughout Lord Howe's campaigning in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, many uniformed Loyalist troops had continued to be used for guard duties, keeping order and foraging. Many saw action too. John Graves Simcoe and his Queen's Rangers executed a very successful raid on Patriot forces in the Battle of Crooked Billet, in May, 1778. At Brandywine, the Queen's American Rangers fought throughout the day, and sustained heavy casualties. [23]

But the British were planning a new strategy. The already-enlisted Loyalist soldiers from the North, and the not-yet-mobilized Loyalists of the South were about to go into battle on a larger scale.

The British were being told that large numbers of Loyalists eagerly awaited their arrival in the South. It was decided to tap this supposed loyal sentiment. Slowly, British sentiment shifted toward a major Southern effort. To begin with, Lieutenant Colonel Archibald Campbell, in command of a British regiment, two Hessian regiments, four Loyalist battalions and artillery, was dispatched to Georgia. On December 29, 1778, the Patriots were badly defeated near Savannah, with New York Loyalists proving invaluable in the victory. Savannah was soon in British hands. [24]

The British then moved against Augusta, Georgia. They were assisted by a Georgia Loyalist named Thomas Brown. Son of a wealthy family, Brown had in the summer of 1775 been confronted by a group of Patriots who demanded that he swear allegiance to the revolutionary cause. Refusing, Brown shot and wounded the Patriot leader. The other Patriots fractured Brown's skull, partially scalped him and tarred his legs and held them over a fire, burning off two of his toes. (He was known thereafter to the Patriots as "Burntfoot Brown". Two weeks after these injuries, Brown was in South Carolina, recruiting hundreds of men to the King's cause. He became a scourge to the Patriots. Brown's East Florida Rangers, some of the New York Volunteers, and the Carolina Royalists marched in Lieutenant Colonel Archibald Campbell's British column when it marched on and took Augusta. Campbell said jubilantly that he had taken "a stripe and star from the rebel flag" [25]

The British Southern strategy called for the large-scale enlistment of Southern Loyalists. The British hoped that, with the aid of the Northern Loyalist regiments now arriving in the South, the Southern Loyalists could maintain control over their neighborhoods, slowly enlarging the scope of British domination. This policy was energetically pursued.

An early setback for the policy lay in the fate of the eight hundred North and South Carolina Loyalists who gathered at the Broad River under Captain Boyd. These Loyalists marched toward the Savannah, inflicting a great deal of devastation. On February 14, 1779, at Kettle Creek, Georgia, a Patriot force caught up with them, and in the ensuing battle, the Loyalists were defeated. Five of their leaders were hanged for treason. [26]

But the recruitment of Loyalists proceeded. The British position in the South was strengthened when British and Loyalist forces repelled a French and Patriot siege of Savannah in the fall of 1779, with great loss of life to the besiegers.

The British besieged Charleston in an arduous campaign. A crucial contribution was made by Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton, the English commander of a Loyalist unit called the British Legion. In a night attack on April 14, 1780, Tarleton took Monck's Corner, South Carolina, a strategic victory which helped seal off the Patriot garrison of Charleston from help or escape. Charleston's surrender to the British on May 12, 1780 was a disaster to the revolutionary cause. Over twenty-five hundred Continental regulars and huge supplies of Patriot weapons and ammunition were lost. [27] Another leader of Loyalists, the Scotsman Patrick Ferguson, commanded a force called the American Volunteers, who formed part of the army which took Charleston. [28]

Now the civil war in the South widened. Banastre Tarleton's British Legion, sometimes called the Loyal Legion, was a force consisting mostly at first of Pennsylvanians. It was quickly augmented by volunteers from the South. At one point the Legion grew to nearly two thousand men. On May 29, 1780 Tarleton and his men defeated a Patriot force under Abraham Buford at Waxhaws, South Carolina. After Buford refused to surrender, the Legion charged. Tarleton's horse was shot from under him he mounted another. Buford and eighty or ninety men escaped. Over three hundred Patriots were killed or wounded, an almost incredible percentage of those engaged. The story soon spread that the Loyalists had bayoneted many of the wounded and those trying to surrender. Patriots began to speak bitterly of "Buford's Quarter," or "Tarleton's Quarter," meaning none.

In the civil war in the South, both sides resorted to the burning of farms and homes, torture, and summary execution on a huge scale. [29]

In the Battle of Ramsour's Mill, North Carolina, on June 20, 1780, the combatants on both sides were untrained militia, few if any in uniform. The battle was fought between neighbors, close relations and personal friends. More than half the Patriots in the battle were killed or wounded, and Loyalist casualties were very high. After the battle, the Loyalists retreated and left the Patriots in possession of the field. A prominent historian called this ". the most desperate engagement of the war in terms of the proportion of casualties to men involved on each side".

The same historian has written, "The battle of Ramsour's Mill. was the archetypal battle of the 'new man,' the American, whether Tory or patriot it was the supreme military expression of individualism. here every man was a general in the sense that he fought, to a very large degree, in response to his own best judgment of what should be done." [30]

British fortunes reached their high point in August, 1780, when Lord Charles Cornwallis's force of British regulars and Loyalists inflicted a seemingly-decisive defeat on Patriot forces at the Battle of Camden. A substantial number of Cornwallis's three thousand men were Loyalists—North Carolina Loyalist regulars and militia, a Northern unit called the Volunteers of Ireland, and the infantry and cavalry of the British Legion. Lord Cornwallis did not oppose his Loyalists to the Patriot militia, and send his British regulars against the Continental regulars. Instead, the Loyalists faced the Patriot regulars, and the British attacked the inexperienced Patriot militia, routing them, exposing the Patriot flank, and causing the collapse and total rout of the whole Patriot army. [31]

The huge British success at Camden diverted attention from a Patriot victory at Musgrove's Mill, South Carolina, fought about the same time. This little-known battle was important. In it, an outnumbered force of Patriots confronted a force of Loyalist regulars and militia. The battle was fierce and protracted, but the frontier Patriot sharpshooters inflicted heavy casualties on the Loyalists, who were completely defeated. This success did much to hearten backwoods Patriots in the aftermath of so many British successes. [32]

The Patriot sharpshooters fared less well in September, 1780, in an attempt to retake Augusta from the British. The Patriot Colonel Elijah Clarke led nearly seven hundred mountain riflemen against a Loyalist garrison of only one hundred and fifty, accompanied by a few score Indians. But the Augusta garrison was commanded by Thomas "Burntfoot" Brown of Georgia, a resourceful man. Judging Augusta indefensible, Brown drove Clarke's men back by artillery fire, and the Loyalists then forced their way by bayonet right through the Patriot force, to the top of nearby Garden Hill. Brown held out for four days. Eventually the Patriots ran out of ammunition, but they cut off the Loyalists' water supply. Brown, in agony after yet another leg wound, ordered his men's urine be kept and cooled, and took the first drink himself. Eventually Brown's garrison was relieved by Loyalists, and the Patriots retreated. [33]

Despite Washington's retaliation, the Loyalist and Indian raids on the frontier intensified. The first order of business for the British was to destroy the Oneidas, the one tribe in New York which supported the Patriot cause. Supported by British regulars and Loyalists, the Mohawks, Senecas and Cayugas destroyed the Oneida settlements, driving the Oneidas away and destroying their usefulness as an early warning line to alert defenders that the Indian and Loyalist raiders were coming.

Now Joseph Brant's Loyalist Indians devastated the frontier. In May, 1780, Sir John Johnson, commanding four hundred Loyalists and two hundred Indians, attacked many settlements in the Mohawk Valley. Brant then led his men down the Ohio, where he ambushed a detachment of troops under the command of George Rogers Clark. [34]

In the autumn of 1780, Johnson, commanding over a thousand Loyalists and Indians, launched another series of raids. [35]

Revenge was soon to follow, however. In 1781, after renewed raids, the Patriot leader Marinus Willett inflicted two defeats on the Loyalists and Indians. The second one was won over a force composed of eight hundred Loyalists and British regulars, accompanied by a much smaller force of Indians. This Patriot victory was decisive, and in it Walter Butler was killed. Marinus Willett's son said that Butler "had exhibited more instances of enterprise, had done more injury, and committed more murder, than any other man on the frontiers." Yet only six years before, he had been a lawyer in Albany, a member of a prominent family, a handsome, graceful man. [36]

After Camden, Banastre Tarleton's and Patrick Ferguson's Loyalist forces had been in the ascendant. An example was Tarleton's victory over Patriot raiders at Fishing Creek, shortly after the battle at Camden. [37]

Then a turning point came at King's Mountain, on the border of the Carolinas, on October 7, 1780. Major Patrick Ferguson commanded a Loyalist force which was enjoying success in pacifying northern South Carolina for the royal cause. But a Patriot force of over one thousand "over-the-mountain men", pioneers from the westernmost settlements, experts in the use of the rifle, was coming after him. Augmented by several hundred Patriot militiamen from the Carolinas, this force cornered Ferguson at King's Mountain.

Ferguson had nine hundred Loyalist troops, made up of Southern militia and detachments from three Northern units--the King's American Rangers, the Queen's Rangers and the New Jersey Volunteers. Ferguson, inventor of a breech-loading rifle, found himself in a situation where his Loyalists were armed with muskets, and the Patriots with rifles, whose range was greater. A series of Loyalist bayonet charges drove the over-the-mountain men back several times, but eventually Loyalist resistance collapsed. Ferguson was killed. After the Loyalist force surrendered, the frontiersmen fired point-blank into a mass of Loyalist prisoners, killing nearly a hundred of them. Other Loyalists were summarily hanged. Some Loyalists escaped, but Ferguson's force was completely destroyed, a huge blow to the British. [38]

Now a defeat lay in store for another commander of Loyalists—Banastre Tarleton. On January 17, 1781, Tarleton went into action against the Patriot commander Daniel Morgan at Cowpens, South Carolina. Tarleton had over five hundred Loyalist infantry and cavalry of his British Legion, along with Loyalist militia and British regulars. His eleven hundred men slightly outnumbered Morgan's force, which consisted of Continental regulars and Patriot militia. The culminating moment of the battle occurred when the Patriot right gave way. The Loyalists thought that the Patriots were panicking, as they had at Camden. The Loyalists began to advance, and Tarleton ordered one of the impetuous charges for which the British Legion was famous. The Loyalists ran into massed Patriot fire, and then were taken on their flank by an expertly timed Patriot cavalry charge. It was all over very quickly. Tarleton and a few others escaped, leaving behind a hundred killed, and over eight hundred captured, including two hundred and twenty-nine wounded. Another important Loyalist force had been nearly destroyed. [39]

Another Loyalist defeat followed on February 24, 1781, at the Haw River, North Carolina. The Patriot commander Colonel Henry Lee (father of Robert E. Lee) was in pursuit of Tarleton, who was moving around the area with a renewed force, recruiting Loyalists. A force of four hundred Loyalists under John Pyle was moving to join Tarleton. But they made a disastrous mistake. Lee's men wore green coats, like Loyalists, rather than the usual Patriot blue. Pyle and his men rode up to meet what they assumed was Tarleton's Legion (Tarleton himself was only a mile away). Lee actually grasped Pyle's hand, intending to demand surrender. At the last minute, a Loyalist officer recognized the ruse and ordered his men to open fire. Ninety Loyalists were then killed and many more wounded not a single Patriot died. [40]

On March 15, 1781, the British won a victory at Guilford Court House, North Carolina. Tarleton's cavalry was present. This was a tactical British victory with huge losses, which made it clear that British power in the South was waning. On April 25, 1781, another battle was fought at Hobkirk's Hill, near Camden. An American historian has called Lord Rawdon's outnumbered nine-hundred-man British force "a motley collection of Loyalists stiffened by a few regulars". [41] In fact, the British force consisted mostly of Northern Loyalist units--the King's American Regiment, the New York Volunteers and the Volunteers of Ireland-- and a South Carolina militia unit. The Patriot forces were eventually driven from the field. [42] But British power in the South continued to decline.

Now the forts established by the British and manned by Loyalists fell to the Patriots, or were abandoned one by one. A major engagement was fought at Fort Ninety-Six, South Carolina, from May 22 to June 19, 1781. The defenders consisted of five hundred and fifty Loyalists, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel John Cruger, a New Yorker. Three hundred and fifty of Cruger's men were members of regular Loyalist regiments the rest were South Carolina Loyalist militia. The besiegers consisted of a thousand Patriots under Nathanael Greene. The Patriots at Ninety-Six used classic siege warfare techniques, inching ever closer to the Loyalist fortifications. Cruger ordered attack after attack on the Patriot lines, to try to disrupt the work. Exhorted to surrender, Cruger defied Greene's "promises or threats". Hearing that Lord Rawdon was marching to the relief of the fort, Greene ordered a general attack. It was a failure. One hundred and eighty-five Patriot attackers were killed or wounded. In a few more days, the fort would have fallen, but Greene broke off the engagement and retreated. [43]

The story of the Ninety-Six siege from the Loyalist point of view is told in detail in the classic novel Oliver Wiswell, by Kenneth Roberts.

The last major battle in the South took place on September 8, 1781, at Eutaw Springs, South Carolina. The British forces included Loyalist units commanded by John Coffin and John Cruger (still fighting after abandoning Fort Ninety-Six.) After a long, bloody struggle the Patriots retreated. But the battle did nothing to halt British decline in the South. [44]

The British and Loyalists in the South had shown energy and courage. It had not been enough. As one historian said, "A vast area, far from the center of the stage in Boston, New York, and Philadelphia, was seized by the British. The patriots, without anything but hindrance from their French allies, met initially with disastrous setbacks but finally, in a campaign that is a textbook study in the tactics and techniques of partisan warfare, recovered, for all practical purposes, the Carolinas and Georgia." [45]

By the time of the battle at Eutaw Springs, Cornwallis and the main part of his army had marched into Virginia. During the early part of his Virginia campaign, Cornwallis used the Loyalist cavalry as his "eyes." Tarleton's Legion had, after its defeats in the Carolinas, grown back to eight hundred men, mounted on Virginia thoroughbred hunters. Their defeats had robbed them of some of the dash they'd previously shown. But they remained dangerous. Cornwallis sent Tarleton and his men on a lightning raid against the Virginia Patriot government at Charlottesville, Virginia. The aim was to capture the House of Burgesses, and the Governor, Thomas Jefferson. Tarleton moved with his usual swiftness, by back roads. As his men passed the Cuckoo Tavern, near Louisa, Virginia, they were overheard by a celebrated Patriot marksman and horseman named Jack Jouett. He saw through a window, by faint moonlight, the hated Tory cavalry trotting past. Jouett set out with great success to arouse the neighborhood. He woke up Jefferson and his family at Monticello. Mrs. Jefferson and the children were removed to safety. Jouett also warned the Patriot legislators. When Tarleton stopped at the plantation of a Patriot, Mrs. Walker, she reputedly deliberately delayed Tarleton and his Loyalist officers with an enormous breakfast of salt herring, salt beef and johnnycake. But then the Legion lunged at Charlottesville. They moved so fast that they captured a thousand Patriot muskets, four hundred barrels of gunpowder, seven members of the House of Burgesses, and very nearly, Jefferson himself. At about the same time, John Graves Simcoe and his Loyalist Rangers moved against the Patriot commander von Steuben, who was guarding Patriot supplies. Steuben fled, and the stores were captured by the Loyalists. [46]

But the endgame was at hand. Cornwallis moved to fortify himself at Yorktown. A huge force of Patriot and French soldiers moved against him, and Cornwallis's surrender on October 19, 1781 proved decisive in winning the war.

Minor Loyalist raids continued well after the surrender at Yorktown.

On July 2, 1779, William Tryon, a former royal governor, assembled a force of twenty-six hundred regulars, Hessians, and a major Loyalist regiment, the King's American Regiment. This force attacked New Haven, Connecticut. Colonel Edmund Fanning of the King's Americans dissuaded Tryon from burning Yale College and the town (Fanning was a Yale graduate). The sacking of New Haven gave birth to a Yale legend. Napthali Daggett, a former college president, was caught firing at the royal troops. A British officer asked him if he would fire on them again if his life was spared. "Nothing more likely," said Daggett, who was promptly bayoneted. But a former student of his, William Chandler, a Loyalist officer, saved his life. Tryon's force went on to sack and burn the nearby town of Fairfield, then the town of Norwalk. [47]

William Franklin was the Loyalist son of Benjamin Franklin, and the former royal governor of New Jersey. One historian has called Franklin "one of the most dangerous Tories in America." [48] Franklin's unit, the Associated Loyalists, launched a series of raids in New Jersey. [49] On one occasion, the Associated Loyalists seized a well-known Patriot leader, Joshua Huddy. The Loyalists wanted revenge for the death of Philip White, a Loyalist who had been captured by Patriots and shot while trying to escape. The Loyalists hanged Huddy, leaving him swinging with a message pinned to his breast, reading in part ". Up goes Huddy for Philip White." [50]

A document dated 1 May 1782 in the papers of George Washington records various violent acts taken against people in parts of New Jersey, such as Monmouth County, some of whom are specifically identified as being Loyalists, and among those listed is Philip White for which the paper says: [51]

Philip White Taken lately at Shrewsburry in Action was marched under a guard for near 16 Miles and at Private part of the road about three Miles from Freehold Goal (as is asserted by creditable persons in the country) he was by three Dragoons kept back, while Capt. Tilton and the other Prisoners were sent forward & after being stripped of his Buckles, Buttons & other Articles, The Dragoons told him they would give him a chance for his Life, and ordered him to Run—which he attempted but had not gone thirty yards from them before they Shot him.

Philip White's brother, Aaron White, was captured with him, and although originally said that Philip was shot after trying to escape later recanted inasmuch as his statement had been made under threat of death and that his brother had actually been murdered in cold blood. [52]

The last major event of the war in the North came in September, 1781, when Benedict Arnold, now a British general, led a mainly Loyalist force of seventeen hundred men, which included Arnold's own American Legion, some New Jersey Volunteers and other Loyalists, in burning down New London, Connecticut. [53] This was the last of the major Loyalist raids in the North.

The Revolution offered an opportunity for large numbers of slaves to fight, and many did, on both sides, in the hope of earning their freedom. [54] It has been suggested that two revolutions went on at once—the Patriot one against the British, and a second one fought by blacks for their freedom. [55]

Throughout the war, the British repeatedly offered freedom to those slaves who would join their side. One historian has said, "Thousands of blacks fought with the British." [56] One American historian has gone so far as to assert that the British position on black civil rights during the Revolution was morally superior to that of the Patriots. [57]

The story began when Lord Dunmore, the former royal governor of Virginia, on November 7, 1775, proclaimed freedom for all slaves (or indentured servants) belonging to Patriots, if they were able and willing to bear arms, and joined the British forces. One historian has said, "The proclamation had a profound effect on the war, transforming countless slaveholders into Rebels and drawing thousands of slaves to the Loyalist side." [58] Within a month of the proclamation, more than five hundred slaves left their masters and became Loyalists. The Ethiopian Regiment was raised, and put on uniforms with "Liberty to Slaves" across the chest. British regulars, white Loyalists and the Ethiopian Regiment attacked Great Bridge, near Norfolk, Virginia. The attack failed, and thirty-two captured blacks were sold by their captors back into slavery. [59]

Some of the Ethiopian Regiment escaped with Dunmore to New York shortly after the city was captured by the British in 1776. There the regiment was disbanded, but some of its men joined the Black Pioneers. This unit had been formed by the British general Henry Clinton, in North Carolina, from slaves responding to Dunmore's proclamation. (A pioneer in the British Army was a soldier who built bridges and fortifications.) [60]

In August 1775, South Carolina Patriots executed Thomas Jeremiah for treason. Jeremiah was a freed black man allegedly sympathetic to the British. Within three months of his death, five hundred blacks, a tenth of the black population of Charleston, had escaped to join the British forces, and both black and white Loyalists were raiding Patriot plantations. [61]

At the end of 1775, the British officer Captain William Dalrymple proposed that blacks be used as "irregulars"—that is, for what we now call guerilla warfare. [62] As the war ground on, an increasing number of blacks did indeed fight as Loyalist irregulars, or with the regular British forces.

Estimates of the number of slaves who escaped to the British range from twenty thousand to one hundred thousand. [63] Thomas Jefferson estimated that thirty thousand slaves fled their masters just during the brief British invasion of Virginia in 1781. [64] Recent studies show that black soldiers fought in the British forces in large numbers, and one historian has said, that ". black soldiers were the secret of the imperial [British] army in North America." [65]

In Massachusetts, the British organized both all-black and multi-racial units. In 1779, Emmerich's Chasseurs, a Loyalist unit in New York, included blacks who raided the Patriots. There were black soldiers in De Lancey's Brigade in Savannah. There were blacks in the Royal Artillery units in Savannah, and black dragoons (cavalry). There were also large numbers of black pioneers and other non-combatant troops. At one point, ten per cent of the British forces at Savannah were black. There were substantial numbers of black soldiers in the British forces at Charleston, and analyses of British records show that blacks were represented in British units in Rhode Island at about the same time (1779). [66]

One of the most prominent black Loyalists was an escaped slave named Tye. This young man escaped in 1775 from his master in New Jersey, at that time a colony where slavery was legal. In Virginia, Colonel Tye joined Dunmore's regiment. After the regiment was disbanded, Tye fought on the British side in the battle of Monmouth. Colonel Tye, so-called by the British, then founded a unit which the British called the Black Brigade. The Brigade raided Patriot homes and farms in New Jersey, gathered intelligence for the British, kidnapped Patriot leaders, and gathered firewood and provisions for the British Army. Colonel Tye's men became a scourge to the Patriots. They were headquartered in a timber-built fortress at Bull's Ferry, New Jersey. George Washington sent a thousand troops against the fortress. A force of black and white Loyalists fought them off after an assault, and the raids went on. Colonel Tye finally died after being wounded in an assault by his men on the home of Joshua Huddy, the Patriot later hanged by William Franklin's Associated Loyalists. [67]

From at least 1776 through 1779, other black Loyalists were heavily involved in raids against Patriot forces in New Jersey. [68]

An American historian has said about the war in the South, "The more intelligent and articulate [sic] of the freed slaves were quite frequently used by the British as guides in raiding parties or assigned to the commissary…" [69] (to help round up provisions). Eliza Wilkinson, daughter of slave-holding Patriots, recorded a Loyalist raid of which she thought one of the most terrible features was the presence of "armed Negroes". [70] Battalions of blacks fought in the successful defense of Savannah against a French and Patriot siege at the end of 1779. One British observer wrote, "Our armed Negroes [were] skirmishing with the rebels the whole afternoon", and, later, ". the armed Negroes brought in two Rebel Dragoons and eight Horses, and killed two Rebels who were in a foraging party." [71] When Lord Cornwallis invaded Virginia in 1781, twenty-three of Jefferson's slaves escaped and joined the British forces. [72] It was said that two or three thousand black Loyalists were with Cornwallis in the Carolinas. [73]

British treatment of the black Loyalists was not uniform. The black soldiers were often housed in crowded, disease-ridden conditions. [74] On one occasion, British transport ships were leaving a Southern port for the West Indies, and were not able to take on all the blacks who wanted to escape. The black Loyalists clung to the sides of ships (risking capsizing them) until their fingers were chopped off by British soldiers. Others were abandoned on an island where twenty years after the Revolution, the ground was littered with their bones. [75]

When the war ended, the question arose as to what would happen to the Loyalists. The British were willing and anxious to reward white Loyalists and their families by helping them escape from the vengeance of Patriots. This particularly included those who had fought on the British side.

But what would happen to the blacks? As the fighting ended, escaped slaves were flooding into British-occupied New York City. Even there, blacks lived in terror of their former owners. Boston King, an escaped slave who had fought with the British, said ". we saw our old masters coming from Virginia, North Carolina, and other parts, and seizing upon their slaves in the streets of New York, or even dragging them out of their beds." [76]

Then the British government, having promised emancipation to all former slaves who fought for it, concluded a peace treaty ending the war. The treaty said, in article 7, that the British were to leave the United States "without . carrying away any Negroes".

Many of the senior British officers in North America refused to comply with article 7. The British general Sir Guy Carleton (later Lord Dorchester), who commanded in New York City, believed that any black American who had served the mother country was not property he (and his family) were British subjects. In defiance of the plain language of the treaty, (and of his own political masters in London), he began to issue passes which allowed the black bearer to go to Nova Scotia, or wherever else the freed black thought proper. [77] In May, 1783, George Washington met with Carleton. Washington protested about the British policy of carrying escaped slaves away. Carleton told Washington that the British were compiling a list of all the blacks who were being helped to escape, called the Book of Negroes. [78] A contemporary account states that "Sir Guy Carleton observed that no interpretation could be put upon the article [article 7 of the peace treaty] inconsistent with prior [promises] binding the National Honor which must be kept with all colors", and Carleton rebuked Washington for the suggestion that a British officer would consent to a "notorious breach of the public faith towards people of any complexion". [79] One black Loyalist who was eventually evacuated by Carleton had belonged to Thomas Jefferson, and three to George Washington. [80]

Eventually, nearly three thousand ex-slaves were evacuated by Carleton to Nova Scotia. One of their leaders there was Colonel Stephen Blucke, commander of the Black Brigade after Colonel Tye's death. Some eventually went on to Sierra Leone. Boston King and his wife were among them. Many remained in Nova Scotia. [81]

Nor were Carleton's evacuees from New York City the only black Loyalists to escape from the United States. Thousands of other blacks escaped to Canada by other means, many on ships leaving Charleston or Savannah. Others escaped to British Florida. A total of between ninety-one hundred and ten thousand four hundred black Loyalists eventually found refuge in Canada. [82]

The majority of the 400,000 to 500,000 Loyalists remained in the United States after the British left. Those who were in Loyalist combat units, and non-combatant Loyalist families who had very visibly aided the British cause, and/or were unshakably loyal to Britain, mostly left. The largest number became the foundation of the English-speaking Canadian community. [83] According to recent estimates, about 62,000 Loyalists at a minimum left the United States by 1784: 46,000 to Canada, 8000-10,000 to Great Britain and the rest to the Caribbean. 5,090 whites and 8,385 blacks went to Florida, but almost all moved on after it was returned to Spain in 1784: 421 whites and 2,561 blacks returned to the States. [84]

The greater part of Loyalist emigration to Canada went to Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. There were at least two waves of American immigration shortly after the Revolution to what is now Ontario, then Upper Canada. The first wave were the wartime Loyalists, who in the early 1780s, went to the southern and eastern parts of the Niagara Peninsula. (Others went to the Eastern Townships in Quebec.) The emigrants to Ontario numbered approximately 6,600, not counting the Native American Iroquois. Small numbers of dedicated "Tories" continued to arrive in Upper Canada during the 1780s either as individual families or in small groups from the Mid-Atlantic States. In the second wave, 30,000 Americans, attracted by promises of land and low taxes in exchange for swearing allegiance to the King, went in the 1790s to the western Niagara Peninsula. Referring to this later group of land-seeking immigrants, Canadian historian Fred Landon concludes that, "Western Ontario received far more land-seekers than Loyalists." [85] However, the first wave, the dedicated Loyalist soldiers and families who came shortly after the Revolution, had a much greater influence on the political and social development of Ontario.

As to the Loyalists who went to England, their story was sometimes not as happy as they had no doubt dreamed. "Transplanted Americans were treated as Americans, not former or new Britons," and, "Some wealthy Loyalists chose exile in England, though they knew Loyalists were not welcome there." [86]

As to the Loyalists who remained within the United States, Loyalists were a minority in every state and in most communities. This differentiated them from the assertive, vocal, white pro-Confederate majorities in the South after the Civil War, who proudly proclaimed their Confederate heritage. After the Revolution, Loyalists and their descendants, prudently, rarely drew attention to themselves. An example of some who did is the Tiffany family, originally of Connecticut, who donated the diary of a Loyalist ancestor to the Library of Congress in 2000. The diary indicated that in fact the Patriot hero Nathan Hale was captured by Robert Rogers and his Loyalists, a narrative not known before. [87]

Remaining in the United States after the Revolution, or leaving and later returning, were not options for some of the Loyalists. Those who had fought for, or supported, the King sometimes rejected the new republic. The figure of a minimum of 62,000 Loyalist emigrants is given above. Another, higher, estimate is given in an American work dated 2010, which states that about one hundred thousand Loyalists were evacuated, most of them to Canada. [88] The numbers of those who left, and who stayed away, are debatable. For more information on this topic, see Loyalist (American Revolution), United Empire Loyalist, and Expulsion of the Loyalists.

In Canada, land was sometimes allotted according to what regiment Loyalists had fought in. Thus, the King's Royal Regiment of New York, Butler's Rangers, Jessup's Corps, the King's Rangers and Joseph Brant's Iroquois got land in what is now Ontario part of de Lancey's brigade, the Pennsylvania Loyalists, the King's American Dragoons, the New Jersey Volunteers, the Royal Fencible Americans, the Orange Rangers and others were given land in what is now New Brunswick. Other Loyalists settled in Nova Scotia and Quebec. [89]

The defeated Tories of the Revolution became the United Empire Loyalists of Canada, the first large-scale group of English-speaking immigrants to many parts of that country, and one which did much to shape Canadian institutions and the Canadian character.

Loyalists became leaders in the new English-speaking Canadian colonies. John Graves Simcoe, commander of the Queen's Rangers, became the Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada (Ontario), and the city of Brantford, Ontario is named for the Loyalist Indian leader Joseph Brant. There is a bust of John Butler of Butler's Rangers at the Valiants Memorial in Ottawa.

The pro-Loyalist tradition in Canada has been summed up by an American historian: "Many Canadians believe that their nation's traditional devotion to law and civility, the very essence of being a Canadian, traces back to being loyal, as in Loyalist." [90] This Canadian self-image is reflected in the British North America Act, (1867), the founding Canadian constitutional document, which defines the aims of the new Dominion as "peace, order and good government"--contrast with "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

8-10,000 Loyalists went to England, including hundreds of former slaves and Anglican clergy. [91] Eventually about 25% returned over the following decades.

By the time of the Civil War, American popular hostility to the Loyalists was fading, to be replaced by a vague memory of a few malcontents who for some reason could not accept the Revolution. Yet Loyalists appear in American popular culture. In Stephen Vincent Benet's short story "The Devil and Daniel Webster", Webster in his quarrel with the devil demands "an American jury", and gets one containing the Loyalist officer Walter Butler. In the book and film Drums Along the Mohawk, Loyalists are shown looting and burning with their Indian allies. The Disney television series The Swamp Fox (about the Patriot leader Francis Marion) showed Loyalists as cowardly guns-for-hire and was condemned by the Canadian House of Commons. The 1985 Al Pacino film Revolution depicts a rich Loyalist family named the McConnahays, whose youthful daughter falls for Pacino and the Patriot cause. The film The Patriot has a British character, Tavington, based on Banastre Tarleton. In history, Tarleton's men were mostly Loyalists. In the film, one, Captain Wilkins, is given a chance to declare his British allegiance at the beginning of the film, and is seen helping Cornwallis to the end.

The novel Oliver Wiswell, by the American historical novelist Kenneth Roberts, tells the whole story of the Revolution from the Loyalist side. Roberts did not portray his Loyalist hero as eventually seeing the error of his ways and returning to the American fold. Instead, the book depicts Oliver Wiswell from his new home in Canada (which he calls "land of liberty") as still being hostile to the revolution and its leaders. Another American historical novelist, Bruce Lancaster, also depicted Loyalists, although from a more conventional condemnatory point of view.

Two novels at least deal with the story of the black Loyalists. One is Washington and Caesar by Christian Cameron, which tells the story of a black Loyalist fighting in the British forces. The Canadian novel The Book of Negroes, by Lawrence Hill, depicts an enslaved black woman who helps the British and escapes with their help.

Life, Liberty and Property

As the war progressed, revolutionary colonists lashed out against loyalists, who they saw as traitors in their midst. The patriots were supported by rebel colonial governments that passed laws prohibiting Tories from practicing their trades, voting, holding political office, or owning property. Anglican churches also were prohibited from holding services. In many colonies such as North Carolina, residents were made to sign pledges of loyalty to American independence and serve in revolutionary militias. Those who didn't were ostracized from society and frequently confined to their homes. In March 1776, the Continental Congress passed a resolution affirming patriots could disarm loyalists and use their weapons for the revolution.

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Francis Salvador was born in London in 1747, the fourth generation of a Sephardi family who had arrived in England from Amsterdam. Originally named Jessurum Rodriguez, the family was prosperous, and Francis inherited a significant estate at the age of 2, after his father died. That was augmented when, at age 20, he married Sarah Salvador, a first cousin.

Francis’ grandfather had been among the organizers of the group of 42 impoverished London Jews who were sent to seek a better life in South Carolina in 1733. Although the colony later banned the immigration of Jews, they allowed those who already settled there to remain. For its part, the Salvador family bought a large parcel of land in the colony, becoming part-owners of some 200,000 acres in what was called the “96 District” in the northwest of the territory. When the Lisbon earthquake of 1755, combined with the failure of the Dutch East India Company, wiped out nearly all the rest of the Salvador family holdings, the land in South Carolina was nearly the only property that remained in its hands.

In December 1773, a 26-year-old Francis Salvador arrived in Charleston, with the intention of rebuilding the family fortune. He expected to call for Sarah and their four children once he was settled. Salvador began to work a 7,000-acre plot he acquired from his uncle in the 96 District, but at the same time became involved in the burgeoning movement of anti-British activity. By January 1775, he was elected to the first Provincial Congress of South Carolina, which drew up a list of colonists’ grievances against the crown for presentation to the royal governor. The congress also appointed Salvador to participate in a committee that tried to convince British loyalists in the colony to come over to what became the revolutionary cause.

When the second Provincial Congress convened, in November 1775, Salvador was among those who urged its delegates who participate in the Continental Congress that was to meet in Philadelphia to vote for independence for the 13 colonies. He also served on a committee that was charged with keeping the peace with the native Americans in the colony’s interior. This was a special challenge, as the British superintendent of Indian affairs was working hard to encourage Cherokees to attack the colonists.

On July 1, 1776, Cherokees mounted an offensive against residents along the colonial frontier. They had been requested to do this by the British, who wanted to tie up the colonial militia while they undertook operations on the coast. Salvador sounded the alarm, riding horseback throughout the area, before joining the colonial militia in battle himself.

On July 31, two loyalists to the crown acting as double agents led the 300-strong militia into a Cherokee and Tory loyalist ambush on behalf of the British at the Keowee River. The next day, Francis Salvador was among those shot, receiving three wounds. He crawled into the bush, where he was discovered by Indians, and scalped. He died a short time later.

In a letter dated August 6, 1776, the militia commander, Major Andrew Williamson, reported on Salvador’s death. "When I came up to him after dislodging the enemy and speaking to him," he wrote, "he asked whether I had beaten the enemy. I told him ‘Yes.’ He said he was glad of it and shook me by the hand and bade me farewell, and said he would die in a few minutes."

Salvadornever did get to see his wife or children, who were still back in London, again. It’s also likely that he never received the news that the Continental Congress had declared independence nearly a month earlier, on July 4, 1776.

He was mourned by a number of prominent South Carolina residents, including William Henry Drayton, later chief justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court, who wrote of him that he had “sacrificed his life in the service of his adopted country."

Boston Tea Party

"The Destruction of Tea at Boston Harbor" by Nathaniel Currier 1846

The Boston Tea Party was a political protest by the Sons of Liberty against the Stamp Act. On December 16 1773 a shipment of tea was dumped into Boston Harbor. The British overreaction to this event led to the start of the American Revolution.


Germans in Europe libed in numerous separate states. None of them formed an alliance with Britain (as most had some had done in previous wars). However a few were willing to rent soldiers to the British. Prussia rejected the offer to hire soldiers. Despite British Whig opposition to using German soldiers to subjugate the "sons of Englishmen," Parliament overwhelmingly approved the measure in order to quickly raise the forces need to suppress the rebellion. [2] The leasing of soldiers to a foreign power was controversial to some Europeans, [3] the people of these continental states generally took great pride in their soldiers' service in the war. [4] Germans living in America did not enlist in the auxiliary units but some enlisted in British units, [5] such as the 60th Regiment of Foot. [6]

The sudden demand to rent thousands of auxiliaries placed a burden on recruiters. Base standards had to be met, including a minimum height and number of teeth required to operate flintlock muskets. [7] Recruiters could be forced to pay losses due to desertion or loss of equipment. [8]

Americans were alarmed at the arrival of hired German fighters. Several American representatives to Continental bodies declared they would be willing to declare independence if King George used such soldiers against them. [9] The hired German troops were referred to as mercenaries by the patriots. [10] Patriot outrage was also reflected in the Declaration of Independence:

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

Colonial-era jurists drawing a distinction between auxiliaries and mercenaries, with auxiliaries serving their prince when sent to the aid of another prince, and mercenaries serving a foreign prince as individuals. [1] By this distinction, the troops which served in the American Revolution were not mercenaries, but auxiliaries. Early Republican historians, however, defended the term "mercenaries" to distinguish the foreign, professional armies from the idealized citizen soldier who altruistically fought for independence. [11] Mercy Otis Warren promoted the idea of German auxiliaries as barbarians, but also as victims of tyranny. [12]

Throughout the war, the United States attempted to entice the hired men to stop fighting. In April 1778, Congress issued a letter "To the officers and soldiers in the service of the king of Great Britain, not subjects of the said king" which offered land and livestock to defecting German units, in addition to increased rank. [13] At the conclusion of the war, Congress offered incentives—especially free farmland—for these ethnic Germans to remain in the United States. [14] Great Britain also offered land and tax incentives to its Loyalist soldiers willing to settle in Nova Scotia. [14]

Hesse-Kassel Edit

The financial basis of some smaller continental states was the regular rental of their regiments to fight for various larger nations during the 18th century. [15] The Landgraviate of Hesse-Kassel, in particular, was economically depressed, [16] and had "rented" out professional armies since the 17th century, [17] with general support from both upper and lower classes. [16] This allowed Hesse-Kassel to maintain a larger standing army, which in turn gave it the ability to play a larger role in European power politics. [18] Hesse-Kassel pressed eligible men into service for up to 20 years, and by mid-18th century, about 7% of the population was in military service. [17] The Hessian army was very well trained and equipped its troops fought well for whomever was paying their prince. [19]

The Landgraviate of Hesse-Kassel was under Frederick II, a Roman Catholic and an uncle of King George III. He initially provided over 12,000 soldiers to fight in the Americas. [20] Like their British allies, the Hessians had some difficulty acclimatizing to North America the first troops to arrive suffered from widespread illness, which forced a delay in the attack on Long Island. [21] From 1776 on, Hessian soldiers were incorporated into the British Army serving in North America, and they fought in most of the major battles, including those of New York and New Jersey campaign, the Battle of Germantown, the Siege of Charleston, and the final Siege of Yorktown, where about 1,300 Germans were taken prisoner, [22] although various reports indicate that the Germans were in better spirits than their British counterparts. [23]

It has been estimated that Hesse-Kassel contributed over 16,000 troops during the course of the Revolutionary War, of whom 6,500 did not return. [24] Because the majority of the German-speaking troops came from Hesse, modern Americans sometimes refer to all such troops of this war generically as "Hessians". Hessian officer (later General) Adam Ludwig Ochs estimated that 1,800 Hessian soldiers were killed, but many in the Hessian army intended on staying in America, and remained after the war. [25] Captain Frederick Zeng, for example, served out his term with the armies of Hesse-Kassel and remained in the United States, even becoming an associate of Philip Schuyler. [26]

Hesse-Kassel signed a treaty of alliance with Great Britain to supply fifteen regiments, four grenadier battalions, two jäger companies, and three companies of artillery. [27] The jägers in particular were carefully recruited and well paid, well clothed, and free from manual labor. [28] [Note 1] These jägers proved essential in the "Indian style" warfare in America, and Great Britain signed a new treaty in December 1777 in which Hesse-Kassel agreed to increase their number from 260 to 1,066. [29]

German-speaking armies could not quickly replace men lost on the other side of the Atlantic, so the Hessians recruited African-Americans as servants and soldiers. There were 115 black soldiers serving with Hessian units, most of them as drummers or fifers. [30]

Perhaps the best-known officer from Hesse-Kassel is General Wilhelm von Knyphausen, who commanded his troops in several major battles. Other notable officers include Colonel Carl von Donop (mortally wounded at the Battle of Red Bank in 1777) and Colonel Johann Rall, who was fatally wounded at the Battle of Trenton in 1776. Rall's regiment was captured, and many of the soldiers were sent to Pennsylvania to work on farms. [31]

The war proved longer and more difficult than either Great Britain or Hesse-Kassel had anticipated, and the mounting casualties and extended supply lines took a political and economic toll. Following the American Revolution, Hesse-Kassel would end the practice of raising and leasing armies. [32]

Hesse-Hanau Edit

Hesse-Hanau was a semi-independent appendage of Hesse-Kassel, governed by the Protestant Hereditary Landgrave William, eldest son of the Roman Catholic Frederick II of Hesse-Kassel. When William received news of the Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775, he unconditionally offered a regiment to King George III. [33] During the course of the war, Hanau provided 2,422 troops only 1,441 returned in 1783. [24] A significant number of Hessian soldiers were volunteers from Hanau, who had enlisted with the intention of staying in the Americas when the war was over. [25]

Colonel Wilhelm von Gall is one well-known officer from Hesse-Hanau [34] he commanded a regiment from Hanau under General John Burgoyne. [35] Among the units sent to North America were one battalion of infantry, a battalion of jägers, a battalion of irregular infantry known as a Frei-Corps, and a company of artillery.

Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel Edit

Brunswick-Lüneburg was a duchy that had been divided into several territories, one of which was ruled by George III as the Electorate of Brunswick-Lüneburg (Hanover). The neighboring Duchy of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel (Brunswick) was ruled by Duke Charles I of Brunswick-Bevern his son and heir, Charles William Ferdinand, was married to Princess Augusta of Great Britain, the sister of George III. [36]

In 1775 Charles William Ferdinand ("Prince Carl") told King George III that Brunswick had soldiers who could be used to help put down the rebellion in the Americas. [37] In December 1775, General Friedrich Adolf Riedesel began recruiting in anticipation of the finalized treaty. [38] Brunswick was the first German-speaking state to sign a treaty supporting Great Britain, on 9 January 1776. It agreed to send 4,000 soldiers: four infantry regiments, one grenadier battalion, one dragoon regiment and one light infantry battalion. [27] The Brunswick treaty provided that all troops would be paid in Imperial Thalers – including two months' advance pay, but required that all troops take an oath of service to King George III. [39] A controversial clause in the agreement stipulated that Duke Charles I would be paid £7 and 4s to replace each Brunswick soldier killed in battle- with three wounded men equal to one dead man Charles, however, would pay to replace any deserters or any soldier who fell sick with anything other than an "uncommon contagious malady." [40]

Duke Charles I provided Great Britain with 4,000 foot soldiers and 350 heavy dragoons (dismounted) [Note 2] under Lt-Colonel Friedrich Baum, all commanded by General Friedrich Adolf Riedesel.

General Riedesel reorganized the existing Braunschweig regiments into Corps to allow for the additional recruits required by the new treaty. Experienced soldiers were spread among the new companies in the Regiment von Riedesel, Regiment von Rhetz, Regiment Prinz Friedrich, and Regiment von Specht, as well as the Battalion von Barner and dragoons. [41] Braunschweig-Luneburg, along with Waldeck and Anhalt-Zerbst, was one of the three British auxiliary that avoided impressment, [41] and Karl I vowed not to send Landeskinder (sons of the land) to North America, so land owners were permitted to transfer to units that would remain in Braunschweig. Officers and non-commissioned officers went throughout the Holy Roman Empire recruiting to fill their ranks, offering financial incentives, travel to North America with the potential for economic opportunities in the New World, reduced sentences, and adventure. [42]

These soldiers were the majority of the German-speaking regulars under General John Burgoyne in the Saratoga campaign of 1777, and were generally referred to as "Brunswickers." [35] The combined forces from Brunswick and Hesse-Hanau accounted for nearly half of Burgoyne's army, [43] and the Brunswickers were known for being especially well-trained. [44] One of the ships used to cross Lake Champlain flew a flag of Braunschweig to recognize their significance to the army. [45] Riedesel's Brunswick troops made a notable entry into the Battle of Hubbardton, singing a Lutheran hymn while making a bayonet charge against the American right flank, which may have saved the collapsing British line. [46] Riedesel's wife, Friederike, traveled with her husband and kept a journal which remains an important primary account of the Saratoga campaign. After Burgoyne's surrender, 2,431 Brunswickers were detained as part of the Convention Army until the end of the war. [47]

Brunswick sent 5,723 troops to North America, of whom 3,015 did not return home in the autumn of 1783. [24] [48] Some losses were to death or desertion, but many Brunswickers became familiar with America during their time with the Convention Army, and when the war ended, they were granted permission to stay by both Congress and their officers. [25] Many had taken the opportunity to desert as the Convention Army was twice marched through Pennsylvania German settlements in eastern Pennsylvania. [49] As the Duke of Brunswick received compensation from the British for every one of his soldiers killed in America, it was in his best interest to report the deserters as dead, whenever possible. [48] The Duke even offered six months' pay to soldiers who remained or returned to America. [50]

Ansbach-Bayreuth Edit

The dual Margraviates of Brandenburg-Ansbach and Brandenburg-Bayreuth, under Margrave Charles Alexander, initially supplied 1,644 men to the British in two infantry battalions, one company of jägers and one of artillery, of whom 461 did not return home. [24] A total of 2,353 soldiers were sent from Ansbach-Bayreuth, [51] including an entire regiment of jägers. [52] They were described as "the tallest and best-looking regiments of all those here," and "better even than the Hessians." [53] These troops were incorporated into Howe's army in New York and were part of the Philadelphia campaign. [54] Ansbach-Bayreuth troops were also with General Cornwallis at the Siege of Yorktown, [55] with a force of nearly 1,100 troops. [56]

After the initial mobilization of troops, Ansbach-Beyreuth sent several other transports with new recruits. By the end of the war, 2,361 Soldiers had deployed to the Americas, but less than half, 1,041, returned had returned by the end of 1783. [53] The Margrave of Ansbach-Bayreuth was deeply in debt when the war broke out, and received more than £100,000 for the use of his soldiers. [51] In 1791 he sold Ansbach and Bayreuth to Prussia and lived the rest of his life in England on a Prussian pension. [57]

Waldeck Edit

Waldeck made a treaty to rent troops to Britain on 20 April 1776. [58] Prince Friedrich Karl August of Waldeck kept three regiments ready for paid foreign service. The first of these regiments, with 684 officers and men, sailed from Portsmouth in July 1776 and participated in the New York campaign. [59] During the campaign the Waldeck regiment captured wine and spirits belonging to American General Lee and were embittered towards the British General Howe when he made them empty the bottles by the roadside. [60]

The Waldeck troops were integrated into the German auxiliaries under Hessian General Wilhelm von Knyphausen.

In 1778, the 3rd Waldeck Regiment was sent to defend Pensacola as part of the British force under General John Campbell. [61] The Regiment was dispersed throughout West Florida, including Fort Bute, Mobile and Baton Rouge. The regimental commander, Colonel Johann Ludwig Wilhelm von Hanxleden, complained that his soldiers were sickened and even died due to the climate. The remote locations received few supply ships, and the soldiers' pay was insufficient to buy local goods. Prince August informed Lord Germain that Waldeck could not recruit new soldiers fast enough to replace those dying in West Florida. [62] In addition to slow supplies, the British and Waldeck forces did not receive news in a timely manner. They were unaware that Spain had declared war on Great Britain until they were attacked by forces under Spanish Governor Bernardo de Gálvez. When this campaign was complete at the Siege of Pensacola, Spain recruited many of the poorly fed and supplied Waldeck soldiers. [63] British prisoners of war were later exchanged, but Waldeck prisoners of war were kept by the Spanish in New Orleans, Veracruz, and more than a year in Havana before finally being exchanged in 1782. [64]

Waldeck contributed 1,225 men to the war, and lost 720 as casualties or deserters. [24] In the course of the war, 358 Waldeck soldiers died from sickness, and 37 died from combat. [64]

Hanover Edit

Five battalions of troops of the Electorate of Brunswick-Lüneburg (Hanover), whose Elector was none other than the British King George III, were sent to Gibraltar and Menorca to relieve the British soldiers stationed there, who could then be sent to fight in America. [27] Since Hanover was ruled in personal union and had its own government, Hanoverian troops were deployed under a British-Hanoverian Treaty in which Great Britain agreed to pay Hanoverian expenses and defend Hanover against invasion while the troops were away. [65] These Hanoverian soldiers were defenders during the Great Siege of Gibraltar, the largest and longest battle of the war, and in the defense of Menorca. Late in the war, two regiments from Hanover were sent to British India, where they served under British command in the Siege of Cuddalore against a combined French and Mysorean defense.

Anhalt-Zerbst Edit

The Prince of Anhalt-Zerbst, Frederick Augustus signed a treaty to provide Great Britain with 1,160 men in 1777. The Regiment of two battalions was raised in five months, and consisted of 900 new recruits. [66] One battalion of 600–700 men arrived in the Canadas in May 1778 to guard Quebec City. [67] The other, consisting of some 500 "Pandours" (irregular soldiers recruited from Slavic lands within the Austrian Empire) was sent in 1780 to garrison British-occupied New York City. Whether these troops could function as irregular light infantry has been much debated, although they were described by contemporary accounts as Pandours.

Independent Trinidad and Tobago

The PNM won six consecutive elections and held power from 1956 to 1986. This continuity and stability in government were accompanied by economic problems and social unrest, which broke out in widespread disturbances in 1970–71. The oil boom in 1973–81 brought sudden prosperity to most sections of the population, and Trinidad and Tobago entered a period of rapid development and industrialization. A substantial state sector and fairly comprehensive social welfare programs were created from the petroleum profits, while the private sector expanded rapidly. A collapse in oil prices, along with the PNM’s failure to win support from most Indo-Trinidadians and deep-seated corruption, led to a marked decline in the party’s popularity after 1981, the year of Williams’s death.

In December 1986 the National Alliance for Reconstruction (NAR), a coalition party led by A.N.R. Robinson, won the majority of seats on a program calling for divestment of most state-owned companies, reorganization of the civil service, and structural readjustment of the economy in the light of shrinking oil revenues. Although the NAR government succeeded somewhat in stimulating economic growth while keeping inflation low, its policies were widely resented, and the party was damaged by splits and defections. In July 1990 a small radical Muslim group attempted a coup, in which several ministers, including Robinson, the prime minister, were held hostage for six days. The NAR was defeated in elections in December 1991, and the PNM returned to power.

The PNM government of 1991–95 continued most of the economic and social policies inaugurated by its NAR predecessors. In 1995 the prime minister called an early general election. The result was a tie between the PNM and the main opposition party, the United National Congress (UNC), which was supported chiefly by Indo-Trinidadians the two Tobago seats went to the NAR, led by Robinson. The latter gave his support to the UNC, whose leader, Basdeo Panday, thus became prime minister. Panday was the first Indo-Trinidadian prime minister, and his government was the first in Trinidad and Tobago to be controlled by a party whose electoral base was the Indo-Trinidadian population. After leaving office, Panday was charged in 2002 with having failed to declare assets to the parliamentary Integrity Commission.

The UNC government pursued economic and social policies generally similar to those of the NAR and PNM governments of 1986–95. There was considerable new investment, especially in tourism, petrochemicals, and natural gas. Since the beginning of the 21st century, Trinidad and Tobago has continued its rapid pace of industrial development, which included building liquefied natural gas plants and steel smelters. The state-owned sugar producer and refiner, Caroni Ltd., was closed down in 2003, but some independent cane farmers continued production for the rum industry. Others turned to the cultivation of alternative crops such as cassava and fruits, and a compensation plan was offered to former sugar-industry workers.

What if America had lost the Revolution?

In the 2000 movie "The Patriot," set in 1776, an American colonial landowner named Benjamin Martin, portrayed by Mel Gibson, reluctantly joins the rebellion against the British Crown after one of his sons is arrested as a spy by British forces and threatened with execution. For his trouble, Martin's home is burned, two of his sons are killed, and he nearly loses his own life in hand-to-hand combat against a brutally sociopathic British officer named Tavington. Fortunately, by luck as much as by skill, Martin manages to survive and kills his antagonist with a desperate thrust of his bayonet. Then he goes on to fight for the Continental Army, which defeats the British at Yorktown to win independence, and eventually returns home to resume his life [source: Mitchell].

Though fictional, "The Patriot" has a strong element of truth, in that it gives a sense of just how much courage it took for the colonists to rebel against the awesome might of the British Empire -- and how lucky they were to eke out a victory. As the historian David McCullough noted in his book "1776," the Americans suffered terrible losses -- about 25,000 casualties, or roughly one percent of the colonial population. That would be the equivalent of a modern war claiming more than 3 million U.S. lives. "To those who had been with Washington and who knew what a close call it was at the beginning . the outcome seemed little short of a miracle," he wrote [source: McCullough].

Indeed, modern historians have speculated that if the colonists hadn't caught a few breaks, the rebellion might have been crushed, and the American colonies would have remained under the rule of King George III. What would have happened to the defeated 13 colonies? Unless we're someday able to venture into an alternate universe where Cornwallis accepts Washington's surrender instead of vice versa, we'll never be able to conclusively answer that question. Nevertheless, based on available historical facts, it's possible to engage in what scholars call counterfactual history and speculate how a British victory might have altered the events that followed [source: Bunzl].

What might have happened to America if it wasn't for providence and the bravery, resilience and resourcefulness of a good many true heroes?

If the British had thwarted the American Revolution, the consequences for America might have been terrifyingly harsh. After all, during the war, the British Army demonstrated a penchant for brutality. When a small force of colonial rebels waved the white flag and tried to surrender at Waxhaws, S.C., in May 1780, the redcoats simply slaughtered them, killing more than 100 men [source: Ward]. In New York, which remained under Loyalist control, the Brits jammed American captives into the holds of prison ships, where they were given nothing but British sailors' discarded table scraps to eat and were denied access to sunshine or fresh air. Though the conditions on these prison ships weren't necessarily that much worse that any conditions the redcoats endured as prisoners of war, the number of dead was extraordinary: Eleven thousand prisoners perished there from diseases like yellow fever and dysentery [source: Caliendo]. What might the British have done to the 100,000 or so Americans who had dared to take up arms against the crown [source: U.S. Army]?

Had the British been victorious, it seems likely that King George III would have come through on the promise he made in 1775 to "bring to condign punishment the authors, perpetrators and abetters of such traitorous designs" [source: Britannia.com]. The British had executed the leaders of a failed Scottish rebellion in 1747, and it seems likely that they would have marched George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and other American revolutionaries to the gallows as well [source: Chadwick].

One of the reasons for the rebellion was the colonists' fear that the British government would increase their taxes. (That was ironic because after adopting the U.S. Constitution, the Americans went on to tax themselves at much higher rates than the one percent or so of colonial economic output that the British took by imposing the Navigation Acts [source: Baack].) But had the revolution failed, the British might have punished the rebels by making them pay additional reparations for the cost of suppressing the revolt -- a total of about 80 million pounds sterling (the equivalent of roughly $4.9 billion in today's U.S. dollars) [source: Tombs, Officer]. So, postwar colonial America might have been a pretty hungry, impoverished place, with food crops being sold off or shipped to England. The result might have been widespread famine, akin to what occurred in Ireland in the 1840s.

Additionally, the British might have punished American rebels by seizing their personal land and homes, just as they seized the estates of Scottish nobles who'd supported a rebellion against British rule [source: Sankey]. That would have radically altered the power structure in American society. Some of that land might have gone to the Hessian mercenaries the British imported from Germany to help them in the war. In one 1778 proclamation, the British promised each Hessian captain who brought 40 men an 800-acre estate, and each individual soldier would receive another 50 acres [source: The New York Times].

For all of the British Empire's other cruelties and callous acts, British antislavery activists won the debate in their own country without having to fire a shot in the late 1700s and early 1800s. In 1807, Parliament abolished the slave trade, and in 1833, it banned the owning of slaves in most of its colonial territories, with the exception of some areas of south Asia controlled by the British East India Company. Between 1808 and 1869, the British Navy even waged an aggressive campaign to seize other nations' slave ships, which resulted in the freeing of about 150,000 captive Africans. If the colonists had lost the war, would slavery have been abolished sooner on American soil -- and without the need for a nasty Civil War?

History Before Modern Time

Howard Zinn does a very complete explanation of how the American Revolution started through the words of Elite figures of the time. The revolution was based extremely on the social class struggle of the lower class trying to up their social status by being freed through the war, the middle class trying to keep what they had in their land and views on politics such as the loyalist ways, and the upper/Elite class trying to defend their power by passing laws and bills which could better themselves, their status, and their family. As Zinn explains in this quote,“ The Continental Congress , which governed the colonies through the war was dominated by rich men, linked together in factions and compacts by business and family connections.” (Zinn, 80)
He starts the chapter A Hand of Revolution by explaining that the Revolutionary leadership knew it would be an extensive task to get the average white man on-board with the revolutionary ideas. Because the “revolution had no appeal to the slaves or the Indians,” he claims, “They would have to woo the armed white population.”(Zinn, 77) It started with attempting to recruit armed white men to join the colonial militia. They excluded “..friendly Indians, free Negroes, white servants, and free white men who had no stable home.”(Zinn, 78) Because number of Armed white men wanting to fight was very small, it forced recruitment to take the less respectable, homeless, and unarmed men.
“Revolutionary America may have been a middle-class society, happier and more prosperous than any other in its time, but it contained a large and growing number of fairly poor people, and many of them did much of the actual fighting and suffering between 1775 and 1783.” This goes to show that while the colonies had a structured class society with Slaves and Indians at the bottom followed by white servants and women , then non-landowning whites, landowning whites and lastly the elite class with wealthy plantation owners, lawyers and merchants, much of the change during the revolution was fought out by the lower middle class.
A major example of how wealth and status played a role in the Revolution, Zinn explains how, “In Maryland, for instance, by the new constitution of 1776, to run for governor one had to own 5,000 pounds of property to run for state senator, 1,000 pounds. Thus, 90 percent of the population were excluded from holding office. And so, as Hoffman says, ‘small slave holders, non-slaveholding planters, tenants, renters, and casual day laborers posed a serious problem of social control for the Whig elite.” (Zinn, 82) This poses a major issue in trying to have equality throughout the social and governmental levels. Furthermore, “They (Maryland authorities) made concessions, taxing land and slaves more heavily, letting debtors pay in paper money. It was a sacrifice by the upper class to maintain power, and it worked” (Zinn, 83) At all costs the Elites and authorities were fighting to maintain their status and power. Once again, a class battle.
Another example of class implications could be seen in the mistreatment of loyalists who did not want any part of the war. The general mood was to take no part in a war that seemed to have nothing for them. Authorities demanded that they supply the troops and consume less for themselves many however, were loyal to Britain and not to the revolutionary cause and did just the opposite of what the authorities asked of them. “Washington’s military commander in the lower south, Nathaniel Greene, dealt with disloyalty by a policy of concessions to some, brutality to others.” (Zinn, 83) He went to the south where people were not on-board for the war effort and had his troops brutalize them and kill a good portion to show the loyalists that they can either get on-board or leave. He explains, “It has had a very happy effect on those disaffected persons of which there were too many in this country.” (Zinn, 83) They brutalized loyalists because they did not agree with the efforts of the war and thus the elite military status punished the middle class which did not wish to follow. Also, much of the loyalists land was taken for not supporting the war effort and in return they offered the land to anyone willing to join after the war effort was over. However, once again, as Zinn describes “One would look, in examining the Revolution’s effect on class relations, at what happened to land confiscated from fleeing Loyalists. It was distributed in such a way as to give a double opportunity to the Revolutionary leaders: to enrich themselves and their friends, and to parcel out some land to small Farmers to create a broad base of support for the new government.”(Zinn, 84) The Elite class could get more land from the incentives than could any man in the militia.
“The huge landholdings of the Loyalists had been one of the great incentives to Revolution. Lord Fairfax in Virginia had more than 5 million acres encompassing twenty-one counties. Lord Baltimore’s income from his Maryland holdings exceeded 30,000 pounds a year. After the Revolution, Lord Fairfax was protected he was a friend of George Washington. But other Loyalist holders of great estates, especially those who were absentees, had their land confiscated.” (Zinn,84) This just goes to show how being or knowing someone in the Elite class could get you a free ticket to anything or protected by anything. This Shows that the class system during the Revolutionary years was quite crooked, just as it could possibly be today. We could possibly consider corporations to be the “elite class’ nowadays with the select few government officials and rich business moguls.
During the revolution, as Zinn describes, the class struggle was even more magnified than it had been at anytime during the history of the nation because while slavery was still around there was also the struggle between wealth and social status. Also, With what Edmund Morgan, Richard Morris, and Carl Degler say about the revolution, it is very much true. With the saying “We The People” The Elite class made “…Town mechanics, laborers, and seamen, as well as small farmers” feel as part of “the people” through “…rhetoric of the Revolution, by the camaraderie of military service, by the distribution of some land (likely to be confiscated land from the Loyalists). Thus was created a substantial body of support, a national consensus, something that, even with the exclusion of ignored and oppressed people, could be called ‘America’.” (Zinn, 85) People were misguided, the government basically gave people, who served for them during the revolution, some land and made them feel part of ‘the people’ even though it was more directed at the people of the Elite Class. Thus, class implications played a major role throughout the revolution.

1. Zinn, Howard. A People's History of the United States: 1492 - Present. New York, NY: HarperCollins, 2008. Print.