Blog #7

The war is over and the Patriots have won their freedom in the colonies. Yet, if you were a Loyalist you lost, and you are still in the colonies with people who are definitely not a fan of you at all. During the war about twenty percent of the colonists were loyal to the crown, while about forty to forty-five percent supported the Patriots’ cause. The question is what should the American government do with the British Loyalists.day-of-judgement.jpg

During the war, Loyalist were being threatened with death if they did not pledge allegiance to the rebel cause. There were many different groups of people who were loyalists: average colonists, merchants, wealthy Anglicans, the Quakers, and even black slaves who were promised freedom by Great Britain if they rebelled against their Patriot masters. By the end of the war, “the British evacuated 20,000 formerly enslaved African Americans and resettled them as free people” (ushistory.com). About 80,000 other Loyalists fled after the war if they could. The wealthy went back to their homes in Great Britain, where they could continue the lifestyle they enjoyed. The regular loyalists who were not as wealthy, actually fled to Canada and Nova Scotia.

However, not all Loyalist were lucky enough to be able to flee. In fact the fighting did not actually come to a stop after the surrender at Yorktown. This was especially true in the South, where multiple battles between Loyalists and Patriots continued and proved to be just a violent as during the war. Once the battles were over, other forms of attack and torture began. Tarring and feathering was not uncommon, along with scalping.  The American people just wanted to strip the Loyalists of all their rights in this newly freed country.Loyalists2_0.jpg

It was made clear that the Patriots were not going to tolerate any type of loyalist authority or power. In fact, when the Patriots came back from battle to find that their business had been taken over by loyalist, they were allowed to, under the new Trespass Act, sue these Loyalists “for compensation for the use of and damage to their property” (pbs.org). Loyalist were supposed to be able to “have their claims concerning lost land, property, money, and salary reviewed by a special committee in England” (ncpedia.org). However, most of them did not lose enough to care to file their claims, and those that did were rejected or gained no more than ten percent back. The American did not try to return land to the Loyalists, or even give them compensation, like they agreed to do in the treaty of Paris. Only the heirs of William Penn, in Pennsylvania, and the heirs of George Calvert in Maryland, actually got back large amounts of land. Otherwise, the Americans made crazy excuses, like saying they did not have a national government so they could not take recommendations from the British Congress.

This view of the Loyalists was one shared across the country among all the Patriots. They were traitors and therefore worthy of punishment. American Patriots did not want to give any power to the Loyalists. However, the government did not want them to leave. Alexander Hamilton “declared that America needed the talents and power of Loyalists” (pbs.org). He, in fact, defended Loyalists in court because of the Trespass Act, and he did so successfully.

In the end, American colonists really just wanted to forget about the Loyalists and torture them for their betrayal. The government itself was trying to be more civil, but the lack of a government with a set foundation made that hard to control. A Patriot of higher ranking, like Thomas Jefferson, would have most likely wanted to be on good terms with Great Britain. Therefore, they would not have been in favor of the way the lower class Patriots were treating the Loyalists. The upper class Patriots recognized the importance in keeping good relations with great Britain, yet the term on which they should operate with Great Britain were sort of mixed up. When it comes to treatment of the Loyalists, they were still seem as a threat to the freedom the Patriots and their new power.

Work Cited

Ushistory.com
http://www.ushistory.org/us/13c.asp
(accessed February 26, 2017)

Pbs.org
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/duel/peopleevents/pande18.html
(accessed February 26, 2017)

Ncpedia.org
http://www.ncpedia.org/loyalists-part-4-loyalist-fate-wars
(accessed February 26, 2017)

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s