Patriots, Loyalist, and the Neutral Ones Stuck in the Middle Today’s America is known for many things; however, one of the things it is notorious for is being a free country. Becoming a free country did not come without many trials and tribulations. The freedom that the American people now have grown so accustomed to started with fierce opposition not only from Britain, but from many of the Englishmen who lived in American colonies. The people that supported Britain throughout the American Revolution are referred to as Loyalists.
On the other side of the spectrum, the people that strongly opposed Britain’s rule and King George III are known as Patriots. Patriots fought against the acts that Britain wanted to enforce and believed the colonies should have independence from Britain. Last there were the people who were neutral. While the Patriots and Loyalists were large in numbers, those in the neutral party were the minority, often suffering hardship due to their stance.
Although the Patriots found unity in the beliefs they held towards Britain, they were a blend of people from many different backgrounds. Patriots were a blended group of people from different social classes, from farmers to lawyers. They did not all share the same education level or common interests. The Patriot party was not fueled by people who were seeking their own power just for the purpose of being free. They were a group of people who felt like Britain was unjust in their tactics of rule. During, and immediately after the military conflict, a ferment of ideas — argued and discussed by an assemblage of remarkable men whose likes have rarely been seen — produced an innovative combination of republicanism and federalism that would serve as a model form of government for humankind, offering fresh political opportunities. ” (Cowley and Parker 2001) The Patriots were against what they felt was unfair taxation, which was the beginning foundation of “no taxation without representation. Some Patriots felt that loyalty should still be in place towards King George III; however like those who didn’t express similar loyalties, they felt “that taxes should be regulated by their own legislatures, not by members of Parliament in Great Britain. ” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2011) One of their base core values was liberty. However the liberties they wanted or already had experienced, had been threatened by the Britain’s greed. They opposed being held to rules that were not put in place by the population majority.
They felt it was only just that the people in the colonies have rules and regulations that they set instead of following everything that Britain desired. Patriots had an overall want for a common good. The poor people would not be held to things the rich would put in place, instead the people of the colonies would find a common unity to benefit all of its inhabitants. Loyalists were a party of people that would closely identify with today’s slogan “if it isn’t broke, why fix it”. Everyone living in the colonies had adhered to the rules and regulations set forth in Britain before and in their eyes, change was not necessary.
Many lacked the desire to rear against a country with so much power. Unlike the Loyalists opposing group, the demographics were much more similar in those that followed the King. Money was a common factor for them and so was the responsibility of being a business owner. Many business owners had links to Britain that tied their livelihood in America to their loyalties they expressed for Britain. Many Loyalists had ties to Britain’s upper-class through marriage and other family. All factors that can solidify the stance many Loyalists chose.
They also feared the upheaval that could arise without being under the control of Britain. They had no way of knowing their families would be safe or that their businesses would not be destroyed. They had no reason to be confident there worries might be unjustified when the Patriots resorted to violence. Britain wasn’t only safe because change is hard; Britain was safe because of the orderliness that they maintained. Loyalists also felt it was a moral issue to not be loyal to King George III.
In their eyes, they did not have the power to choose and side when their moral beliefs told them their only option was to be loyal to the crown. Finally there was the group that did not take a solid stance on either side of the debate. The neutral party was not necessarily the easier side to be on though. They tried to keep more to themselves and not be as active as others did. They tried to maintain a low profile and stay out of the way. However, by not choosing to be on one side or the other they were looked at poorly by both Patriots and Loyalists.
They continued business with Britain, and followed their own protocol they deemed appropriate for themselves. “Men of good will simply should not rob and butcher one another, they believed, and many felt that the correct stance was to refrain if at all possible from any form of participation. ” (Fellman 1990) Note that “if at all possible” was not always permitted. “Nearly half of all colonists did not want to take sides. They wanted to remain neutral in the conflict between the British and the Patriots. But they were forced to choose sided once the war began. (Todd 2001) Everyone living in the American colonies during the war felt the effects. Though not all wanted to be involved, nor did many feel the need to participate, it was unavoidable. Men, women, and children shed blood; there was no one who was not impacted. Being a Patriot, Loyalist, or a neutral party was based on differences varying from monetary and social class, right down to fear of change; however, there was no difference when comparing the high emotion and the impact experienced during the American War.
Works Cited Cowley, Robert, and Geoffrey Parker. Reader’s Companion to Military History. Wilmington: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2001. Fellman, Michael. Inside War: The Guerrilla Conflict in Missouri During the American Civil War. Oxford University Press, 1990. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 2011. http://www. hmheducation. com/fl/pdf/resources/Grade5/T-5-1_SFLETG713311_TGL08. pdf (accessed September 14, 2012). Todd, Anne M. The Revolutionary War. Capstone, 2001.
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