The Fight for Freedom: The American Revolution
The American Revolution was a time of change, and two sides stood up for what they believed In. Patriots and Loyalists will always be a big part of the history in the American Revolution. When the American colonies split Into Patriots, Loyalists, and fence-sitters, a lot of conflict and fighting broke out. The Patriots were a group of American Colonists, who are sick of England’s laws and tariffs over the colonies and fought for their independence from England during the American Revolution. The Loyalists were alsoAmerican Colonists, but Instead of fighting for American Independence in the Revolution, they remained loyal to Great Britain and would sometimes fight with the British Soldiers.
The majority of colonists were called fence-sitters. Fence-sitters did not take sides during the Revolution, and when they did It was for whichever side would most benefit them and their families. In this time period, most colonists were originally from Great Britain so many had a tough time choosing sides, therefore they didn’t.During the Revolution, both the Patriots and Loyalists fought for the support of he Fence-sitters, believing that If they received their support and force, they could doom the other side. The loyalists had a tough time during the Revolution. They opposed the Idea of American Independence, and that infuriated the Patriots. The loyalists were prone to beatings, public humiliation, and people stealing their belongings.
For example, “a loyalist named John Stevens said he was dragged across a river by his neck because he would not support the patriot rebellion” (Tindal, Shih 236).There were many brutal beatings that occurred that were similar to this incident. In addition to physical pain, loyalists also suffered emotional pain in the form of public humiliation such as the “tar and treatment in which wrongdoers have tar dumped on their skin and feathers thrown on them. It is no surprise that after America won independence from England; roughly 100,000 loyalists left and went north to Canada or back to England. The treatment towards loyalists during the war ultimately led to their departure.Throughout the Revolution, the English military made it a priority to know how many colonists remained loyal to England and where the majority of them lived. The British litany “sought to align themselves with an elusive Tory [loyalist] majority’ (Tindal, Shih 237) because it would be easier for them to conquer those areas.
The British leader, King George, believed that there was a sleeping loyalist power In the south, 1 OFF while, the British gathered momentum from the loyalist countryside but it fell apart for two reasons.First, the Loyalist power was less then King George originally thought, and second, the British forces drove some loyalists into rebellion with their harsh behavior. The lack of loyalist power was a major downfall for the British, who rendered in Yorktown when they were outnumbered 2-to-l by American and French troops, ultimately ending the war. When people made their decision whether to support the Patriots or Loyalists, it split apart friends and families, towns and cities. The greatest example of this was Benjamin Franklin and his son, William Franklin.Franklin and his son were both English, and at first were both loyal to England. As the colonies started to revolt, and England pressed harder and harder against the colonies, Benjamin Franklin became a patriot.
William Franklin was the Royal Governor of New Jersey, and remained extremely loyal to the British and England. As time went on, the two grew further and further apart on their political views, Franklin becoming one of the founding fathers for American freedom while his son William Franklin did not Just support England, but helped them out and gave the British information on what was going on in New Jersey.Ben and William stopped talking, since they had become so politically different and could no longer stand talking to each other. It was not uncommon for families to stop talking because of their affiliations during the revolution; Benjamin Franklin actually removed William from his will. As stated earlier, both the Patriots and Loyalists hoped to attract the fence-sitters to their cause. Writers on both sides hoped to sway fence-sitters their way with their writings and pamphlets.The first writing to really fuel the fire was Thomas Pain’s Common Sense.
In Common Sense, Paine argues for American Independence from Great Britain, and makes the case for a Democratic Republic in America. A Democratic-Republic is a system in which the top officials are elected into office, not a anarchy like Great Britain had. Common Sense was published in January of 1776 and quickly added a spark for the Patriots. James Chalmers, a Maryland planter and Loyalist, wrote his own pamphlet in response to Common Sense.Plain Truth was published in 1776 denouncing the Patriot cause and calling Paine “a political quack” (casuistry. Org). Plain Truth never fired things up the way Common Sense did, and the “American patriots won the war of propaganda.
Committees of Correspondence persuaded many fence-sitters to Join the patriot cause” (casuistry. Org). The battle for the Fence-sitters was one of the most important battles, and the Patriots came out victorious. The Loyalists and Patriots will forever be remembered in American History.In the eyes of Americans, the Patriots are looked at as true heroes, and they are people Americans should thank for their freedom while the Loyalists are looked at as traders. There was truly a “civil war” in America during the Revolution with all the brutal fights and beatings, families and friends splitting apart, and the literature published during the war. The Americans won the war at the end, getting independence from Great Britain, and would go on to become the most powerful nation in the world.