Loyalists and Patriots: Reasons behind the Rivalry
The American Revolution is considered by many historians as the fist American civil war. Historians argued this assertion because it was the first time when the American nation stood against itself. Even though many noted that the American Revolution is a war against the British Nation and the American people yet no one can pinpoint who were the British and who were the Americans.
During the eighteenth century, the colonists took pride of themselves as British when the British had finally ended the threats of the French and the Spanish colonizers on the British territories in North America. During this time, the Thirteen Colonies appeared to be contented with the rule of the British. Everyone considered themselves subjects of the king and the empire. Patriotism and nationalism belongs to the king and to their mother country – Britain.
However, the spark of the revolution started when the British started to impose heavy taxes on the colonies. At first, the colonists were silent and still felt loyal to the king thinking that these taxes were really needed by the Empire. However, these few taxes had created alarms when it became series of taxes. The colonists began to feel that they were deprived of their rights. They started to protest and to request meaningful representation to the British Parliament in order to sort out the problems with regards to excessive taxations. However, the British denied this request.
However, these events had not only worried the British but it had brought a lot of confusion to the colonists. The colonists were torn between two factions and they did not know at fist whom to support. This was the reason why some historians had asserted that the American Revolution is the first civil war. This was argued by historians as the first time where the nation was divided against itself. Moreover, these divisions had left the people to bewilderment and panic. Would they remain loyal to the king and to the mother land or rather support the call to establish an independent nation?
Samuel Adam, the one who heave the teas to the sea had formed the Committees of Correspondence which established the Continental Congress. The Continental Congress was the fist formal government of a faction of the colonists who deemed themselves as the Patriots or the Revolutionaries. They were sometimes called the Whigs and were the first who claimed that they were not anymore British but were Americans. Some of the famous Patriots were America’s founding fathers which included Washington, Franklin, Adams and Jefferson. Nevertheless, Patriot is a term that had been debated by many historians because many argued that it is \partial. However, conventions had just put to context that Patriot is a term to denote those who favored the American. However, there were also some colonists who countered the Patriots and were called the Loyalists. The Loyalists were those who remained faithful to the empire. Most of the Loyalists were the new comers or recent immigrants. Some were merchants who enjoyed the free trade with England and some were Anglicans who believed in family ties.
However, the British did not anymore hold the majority of the colonists. About seven to eight out of ten colonists were Patriots. The Patriots arguments relied solely on the belief that Britain is not anymore capacitated to rule the colonies. They believed that the expanse that estranged Britain from America is so enormous that no one is fated to rule above the other. They further stressed that the British had been oppressive and had deprived them of common rights that is entitled for a fellow citizens. They argued further that the denial to representation to the Parliament is a clear indication of authoritarianism.
Yet, the Loyalists had asserted that the colonies had greatly benefited from the British. They asserted that they and the British were of the same race, spoke the same language and shared a common cultural experience. They further affirmed that the British ensured their security, trade and economic prosperity. They avowed that with the British, freedom would be secured and protected.
Nonetheless, the Patriot had countered these arguments. They said that even though the British secured their trade yet it was not mutual; the British always got the best. However if the bond that connected them to the British be broke, then a free trade with whom they liked can be accomplished. They further asserted that freedom and democracy would never be achieved with the partial and biased British Empire, yet freedom can only be achieved when they had shaken off the heavy yoke that was imposed towards them.
The divisions among the colonists had further fueled the American Revolution. While the Americans were fighting the British, neighbors were also fighting their neighbors. Patriot colonists ransacked and burned the houses of Loyalists. These were also the events in other cities where the Loyalists are the majority, Hundreds of thousand died not because of the war but because of the internal conflicts that occurred between each colonists. This is the reason why it is called a war inside a war. However in the end, the Patriots had been successful and the United States of America was born.
Dorson, R.M.(Ed.).“Patriots of the American Revolution.”New York: Grammercy, 1995.
Mancall, P.C. “American Revolution: people and perspectives”. New York: ABc-Clio, 1997.
Stokesbury,J.L. “A short history of the American Revolution.” New York: Quill, 1997.