Loyalist or Revolutionary?
In 1776 the population of the Thirteen Colonies was 2.5 million.
In July 1776, the Declaration of Independence turned the American Revolution into a civil war. One fifth of Americans supported independence from Britain, one fifth opposed independence and supported Britain, and three fifths were undecided and quickly had to choose sides. Anyone who tried to remain neutral or suggest a compromise became instantly suspicious and was treated like an enemy by everyone.
The lectures above make the argument for Revolution. But what was the loyalist perspective? To find out more about Loyalism you should read the primary sources attached here. Week 2 – Tuesday – Loyalist Primary Sources.pdf Preview the documentIn this collection of sources, you will find Loyalists had genuine concerns about what revolution would mean for the future of the colonies. Above everything, Loyalists feared the consequences of civil war.
Today, just like the majority of colonists, you are undecided and need to choose sides. Will you support your king and hope to avoid civil war or your colony and join the Revolution. Think carefully, as you will have to publically justify your politics.
You should write a speech explaining your politics. Your speech is worth 50 points and should be at least one page in length and cover the following points:
Are you a loyalist, revolutionary or are you still undecided? Start with a short statement explicitly explaining your politics. (10 points)
Justify your political choice.
Why have you made the right choice for the future of the Thirteen Colonies? (25 points)
Explain what you are going to do next. Having declared your politics are you happy to go home and wait to see what happens next? Or, are you going to fight for your cause by joining a military unit or attempt to influence public opinion with speeches and newspaper articles? (15 points)
The American Revolution
King or colony? It is time to make a choice. Will you join the fight for an independent America or defend the British Empire. This was a choice all American colonists had to make by 1776. Tensions between Britain and American began in the 1760s over taxation and quickly escalated into a political crisis that would lead to Revolution.
The American Revolution was caused by a misunderstanding. During the 18th Century, colonists fought and traded in the British Atlantic and started to think of themselves as equal partners in the British Empire. This made sense in America but was never accepted by the British Government. What would happen when Britain decided to interfere in the running of the Thirteen Colonies?
In 1763 the Seven Years War ended in victory. With American help, Britain defeated the French in Quebec and ended a century of imperial rivalry. Victory, however, threatened to bankrupt Britain. Who would pay for the war? Britain imposed new taxes on American trade. Colonists countered that only colonial governments could tax American trade, and protests followed. The misunderstanding had finally been exposed, and nobody was willing to compromise.
The American Revolution had begun. Twenty long years later it would end with independence for the Thirteen Colonies and the creation of the United States.
Textbook: (APP check files PAGES 104-127)
There is more reading than usual for today’s class. The American Revolution is a complicated moment in American history. The American Revolution should not be thought of as one event. Instead, historians argue that the Revolution lasted twenty years from 1763 to 1783 and should be understood as a series of events. Your goal when reading is to map out the different phases of the Revolution. Specifically, you should understand how tax protests in the 1760s turned into political protests in the 1770s and then escalated into the independence movement that resulted in the 1776 Declaration of Independence. Finally, you need to think about the war years that ended in 1783 and how fighting changed the character of the Revolution.