Q.5 (b) “At the news of the Declaration of Independence crowds gathered to cheer, fire guns and cannon and ring church bells in Philadelphia, Boston and other places, but there were many people in America who did not rejoice.” Comment.
During American Revolution, Americans were divided in mainly three groups: Patriots, Neutrals and Loyalists. Patriots wanted freedom from England, Neutrals did not take side while Loyalists supported the British Crown.
At the news of the Declaration of Independence, Patriots gathered to cheer, fire guns and cannons, and ring church bells. But the Loyalists did not rejoice.
Some loyalists had disapproved of the war from the beginning. Others had been willing to support it only so long as its aims did not conflict with their basic loyalty to the king. Sometimes within the same family, patriots and loyalists were found. The most dramatic example was when William Franklin, son of Benjamin Franklin remained loyal to the Crown throughout the war.
Loyalists and their Motives
(1) Some were officeholders in the imperial government, who stood to lose their positions as a result of the Revolution.
(2) Some were merchants engaged in trade closely tied to the imperial system. (Most merchants, however, supported the Revolution.)
(3) Some were people who lived in relative isolation and had not been exposed to the wave of discontent that had turned so many Americans against Britain.
(4) There were cultural and ethnic minorities who feared that an independent America would not offer them sufficient protection. For example: Recent immigrants who had not been fully Americanized were also inclined to support the King, such as recent Scottish settlers.
(5) There were settled, cautious people who feared social instability.
(6) There were those who, expecting the British to win the war, were simply currying favor with the anticipated victors.
(7) There were Loyalists in America connected to the Church of England.
(8) Native American Loyalists: The American Patriots tried to persuade them to remain neutral in the conflict, which they described as a “family quarrel” between the colonists and Britain that had nothing to do with the tribes. But in fact a great deal was at stake for Native Americans in the American Revolution. During the colonial period, the British government had tried to restrain the growth of white migration into the Indian lands west of the Appalachian Mountains. Many natives feared loss of land in the absence of British and so supported them.
(9) Blacks Loyalists
Some black slaves became politically active and supported the crown especially in Virginia where royal Governor actively recruited the blacks in return for freedom from slavery.
Generally blacks fought on both sides of the Revolution, but most fought for the patriots to further their interests. Both sides offered freedom and re-settlement to slaves who were willing to fight for them.
Condition of Loyalists after war
After war, Hounded by Patriots and harassed by legislative and judicial actions, the position of many Loyalists became intolerable. Some Loyalists moved to England, some moved to Canada. Some returned to America after the war after the earlier resentments faded.
Many Natives Indians fled to Canada. The British resettled them there after the war, providing land grants as compensation.
Many Black loyalists were resettled from New York to Nova Scotia or in England or in the West Indies of the Caribbean and later in Sierra Leone.