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Loyalist & Tories

The Eighteenth century was one of turmoil in what were still the English colonies, but the more many sought to (and finally did) win independence from Britain, there were others whose hearts and allegiances still belonged to the Crown., These were the loyalists. Because many of the colonies prospered, the loyalties were economic as well as political. There are historians who state that "The War of American independence was a true civil war. In America itself a strong minority who called themselves Loyalists, and by their enemies called Tories, supported the mother country and there was much fighting between Loyalist and Patriot partisan (guerilla) bands. (Morison 1965 235).

The Loyalists actually formed a political party which "existed throughout the war, although it never managed to get properly organized outside New York City" (Morison 1965 235). Most of the Loyalists were wealthy merchants, and New England church ministers. Some of the Christian sects like the Quakers remained neutral. Just like we are seeing now, politics and loyualties split many families- some of whom remained loyal to the king while others, the Adamses and Randolphs, Franklin, Washington- among many others leaned heavily to the Patriot side. So, for many the difference was a look into the future: would the colonies be better off economically and politically by remaining colonies, or was there something positive to be gained by declaring independence? Of course, when the fighting broke out in earnest, the Loyalists formed their own battalions. One of the key Loyalist leaders was Benedict Arnold.

It is interesting to note that many of the Loyalists, or Tories, remained when Independence was declared and the war over. But, over 80,000 left, along with British troops, and returned to Britain. They were not expelled, as some historians (such as Toynbee) have claimed. They simply felt as outsiders, scorned by the people they had lived and worked along...

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Loyalist & Tories. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 09:43, August 04, 2020, from