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Patriots, also known as Revolutionaries, Continentals, Rebels, or American Whigs, were the colonists of the
Thirteen Colonies The Thirteen Colonies, also known as the Thirteen British Colonies or the Thirteen American Colonies, were a group of Kingdom of Great Britain, British colonies on the Atlantic coast of North America. Founded in the 17th and 18th centuries, th ...
who rejected British rule during the
American Revolution The American Revolution was an ideological and political revolution which occurred in colonial North America between 1765 and 1783. The Americans in the Thirteen Colonies The Thirteen Colonies, also known as the Thirteen British Colo ...
, and
declared
declared
the United States of America an independent nation in July 1776. Their decision was based on the political philosophy of
republicanism Republicanism is a political ideology An ideology () is a set of belief A belief is an Attitude (psychology), attitude that something is the case, or that some proposition about the world is truth, true. In epistemology, philosophers use ...
—as expressed by such spokesmen as
Thomas Jefferson Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743 – July 4, 1826) was an American statesman, diplomat, lawyer, architect, philosopher, and who served as the third from 1801 to 1809. He had previously served as the second under and as the first under ...

Thomas Jefferson
,
John Adams John Adams (October 30, 1735 – July 4, 1826) was an American statesman, attorney, diplomat A diplomat (from grc, δίπλωμα; romanized Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific stud ...

John Adams
, and
Thomas Paine Thomas Paine (born Thomas Pain; – In the contemporary record as noted by Conway, Paine's birth date is given as January 29, 1736–37. Common practice was to use a dash or a slash to separate the old-style year from the new-style year. In the ...

Thomas Paine
. They were opposed by the
Loyalists Loyalism, in the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. ...
, who supported continued British rule. Patriots represented the spectrum of social, economic, and ethnic backgrounds. They included lawyers such as
John Adams John Adams (October 30, 1735 – July 4, 1826) was an American statesman, attorney, diplomat A diplomat (from grc, δίπλωμα; romanized Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific stud ...

John Adams
, students such as
Alexander Hamilton Alexander Hamilton (January 11, 1755 or 1757July 12, 1804) was an American statesman, politician, legal scholar, military commander, lawyer, banker, and economist. He was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States The Founding Fa ...

Alexander Hamilton
, planters such as
Thomas Jefferson Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743 – July 4, 1826) was an American statesman, diplomat, lawyer, architect, philosopher, and who served as the third from 1801 to 1809. He had previously served as the second under and as the first under ...

Thomas Jefferson
and
George Mason George Mason IV (October 7, 1792) was an American planter, politician and delegate to the U.S. Constitutional Convention The Constitutional Convention (contemporarily known as the Federal Convention, the Philadelphia Convention, or the Gran ...

George Mason
, merchants such as
Alexander McDougall Alexander McDougall (1732 9 June 1786) was a Scottish-American seaman, merchant, a Sons of Liberty leader from New York City New York City (NYC), often simply called New York, is the List of United States cities by population, most populou ...
and
John Hancock John Hancock ( – October 8, 1793) was an American Founding Father The following list of national founding figures is a record, by country, of people who were credited with establishing a state. National founders are typically those w ...

John Hancock
, and farmers such as
Daniel Shays Daniel Shays (September 29, 1825) was an American soldier, revolutionary and farmer famous for being one of the leaders and namesake of Shays' Rebellion Shays Rebellion was an armed uprising in Western Massachusetts and Worcester, Massachusetts, ...

Daniel Shays
and
Joseph Plumb Martin Joseph Plumb Martin also spelled as Joseph Plum Martin in military records and recorded as Joseph P. Martin in civilian town clerk records. (November 21, 1760 – May 2, 1850) was a soldier in the Continental Army The Continental Army was fo ...
. They also included slaves and freemen such as
Crispus Attucks Crispus Attucks (1723 – March 5, 1770) was an American stevedore of African and Native American descent, widely regarded as the first person killed in the Boston Massacre The Boston Massacre was a confrontation on March 5, 1770, i ...

Crispus Attucks
, the first casualty of the American Revolution;
James Armistead Lafayette James Armistead Lafayette (born 1748 or 1760 – died 1830 or 1832) was an enslaved African American African Americans (also referred to as Black Americans or Afro-Americans) are an ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping ...

James Armistead Lafayette
, who served as a double agent for the
Continental Army The Continental Army was the army of the Thirteen Colonies and the Revolutionary-era United States. It was formed by the Second Continental Congress after the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War, and was established by a resolution of ...
; and Jack Sisson, leader of the first successful
black operation A black operation or black op is a covert or clandestine operation by a government agency, a military unit or a paramilitary organization; it can include activities by private companies or groups. Key features of a black operation are that it ...
mission in American history under the command of Colonel William Barton, resulting in the capture of British General
Richard Prescott Lieutenant General Lieutenant general or lieutenant-general (Lt Gen, LTG and similar) is a Three-star rank, three-star military rank (NATO code OF-9) used in many countries. The rank traces its origins to the Middle Ages, where the title of lie ...
.


Terminology


"Whigs" or "Patriots"

The critics of British policy towards the colonies called themselves "Whigs" after 1768, identifying with members of the British
Whig Whig or Whigs may refer to: Parties and factions In the British Isles * A pejorative nickname for the Kirk Party The Kirk Party were a radical Presbyterian faction of the Scotland, Scottish Covenanters during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. ...
party who favored similar colonial policies.
Samuel Johnson Samuel Johnson (18 September 1709  – 13 December 1784), often called Dr Johnson, was an English writer who made lasting contributions as a poet, playwright, essayist, moralist, critic A critic is a person who communicates an asses ...
writes that at the time, the word "patriot" had a negative connotation and was used as a negative epithet for "a factious disturber of the government".


"Tories" or "Royalists"

Prior to the Revolution, colonists who supported British authority called themselves ''
Tories A Tory () is a person who holds a political philosophy Political philosophy is the philosophical study of government, addressing questions about the nature, scope, and legitimacy of public agents and institutions and the relationships between ...
'' or ''
royalist A royalist supports a particular monarch A monarch is a head of stateWebster's II New College DictionarMonarch Houghton Mifflin. Boston. 2001. p. 707. Life tenure, for life or until abdication, and therefore the head of state of a monarchy. ...
s'', identifying with the political philosophy of
traditionalist conservatism Traditionalist conservatism, often known as classical conservatism, is a political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-making, making decisions in Social group, groups, or other forms of Power (so ...
dominant in Great Britain. During the Revolution, these persons became known primarily as ''
Loyalists Loyalism, in the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. ...
''. Afterward, some 15% of Loyalists emigrated north to the remaining British territories in
Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. Its Provinces and territories of Canada, ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic Ocean, Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, Pacific and northward into the Arctic Oce ...
. There they called themselves the
United Empire Loyalists United Empire Loyalists (or simply Loyalists) is an honorific title which was first given by Guy Carleton, 1st Baron Dorchester, the 1st Lord Dorchester, the Governor of Province of Quebec (1763–1791), Quebec, and Governor General of The Canad ...
. 85% of the Loyalists decided to stay in the new United States and were granted American citizenship.


Influence

Many Patriots were active before 1775 in groups such as the
Sons of Liberty The Sons of Liberty was a term broadly applied to loosely organized revolutionary bands in the Thirteen American Colonies to advance the rights of the European colonists and to fight taxation by the British government. It played a major role ...

Sons of Liberty
, and the most prominent leaders are referred to today by Americans as the
Founding Fathers The following list of national founding figures is a record, by country, of people who were credited with establishing their nation. National founders are typically those who played an influential role in setting up the systems of governance, ...
. They represented a cross-section of the population of the
Thirteen Colonies The Thirteen Colonies, also known as the Thirteen British Colonies or the Thirteen American Colonies, were a group of Kingdom of Great Britain, British colonies on the Atlantic coast of North America. Founded in the 17th and 18th centuries, th ...
and came from many different backgrounds. According to Robert Calhoon, between 40 and 45 percent of the white population in the Thirteen Colonies supported the Patriots' cause, between 15 and 20 percent supported the
Loyalists Loyalism, in the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. ...
, and the remainder were neutral or kept a low profile. The great majority of the Loyalists remained in America, while the minority went to Canada, Britain,
Florida Florida is a U.S. state, state located in the Southeastern United States, Southeastern region of the United States. Florida is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the northwest by Alabama, to the north by Georgia (U.S. state), Geor ...
, or the
West Indies The West Indies are a subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, in ...
.


Motivations


Patriot and Loyalist differences

Historians have explored the motivations that pulled men to one side or the other. Yale historian Leonard Woods Labaree used the published and unpublished writings and letters of leading men on each side, searching for how personality shaped their choice. He finds eight characteristics that differentiated the two groups. Loyalists were older, better established, and more likely to resist innovation than the Patriots. Loyalists felt that the Crown was the legitimate government and resistance to it was morally wrong, while the Patriots felt that morality was on their side because the British government had violated the constitutional rights of Englishmen. Men who were alienated by physical attacks on Royal officials took the Loyalist position, while those who were offended by heavy-handed British response to actions such as the
Boston Tea Party The Boston Tea Party was an American political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-making, making decisions in Social group, groups, or other forms of Power (social and political), power relatio ...

Boston Tea Party
became Patriots. Merchants in the port cities with long-standing financial attachments to Britain were likely to remain loyal to the system, while few Patriots were so deeply enmeshed in the system. Some Loyalists, according to Labaree, were "procrastinators" who believed that independence was bound to come some day, but wanted to "postpone the moment", while the Patriots wanted to "seize the moment". Loyalists were cautious and afraid of anarchy or tyranny that might come from mob rule; Patriots made a systematic effort to take a stand against the British government. Finally, Labaree argues that Loyalists were pessimists who lacked the Patriots' confidence that independence lay ahead.


Patriots and taxes

The Patriots rejected taxes imposed by legislatures in which the taxpayer was not represented. "
No taxation without representation "No taxation without representation" is a political slogan that originated in the American Revolution, and which expressed one of the primary grievances of the Thirteen Colonies, American colonists against Kingdom of Great Britain, Great Britain. ...
" was their slogan, referring to the lack of representation in the British Parliament. The British countered that there was "virtual representation" in the sense that all members of Parliament represented the interests of all the citizens of the British Empire. Some Patriots declared that they were loyal to the king, but they insisted that they should be free to run their own affairs. In fact, they had been running their own affairs since the period of "
salutary neglect In American history The history of the United States started with the arrival of Native Americans in North America around 15,000 BC. Native American cultures in the United States, Numerous indigenous cultures formed, and many disappeared in th ...
" before the
French and Indian War The French and Indian War (1754–1763) was a theater of the Seven Years' War The Seven Years' War (1756–1763) is widely considered to be the first global conflict in history, and was a struggle for world supremacy between Great Britain ...

French and Indian War
. Some radical Patriots tarred and feathered tax collectors and customs officers, making those positions dangerous; according to Benjamin Irvin, the practice was especially prevalent in Boston where many Patriots lived.Benjamin H. Irvin, "Tar and Feathers in Revolutionary America," (2003)


List of prominent Patriots


See also

*
Loyalist (American Revolution) Loyalists were American colonists who remained loyal to the British Crown The Crown is the state (polity), state in all its aspects within the jurisprudence of the Commonwealth realms and their subdivisions (such as the Crown Dependencies, ...


References

{{reflist


Bibliography

* Ellis, Joseph J. . ''Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation'' (2002), Pulitzer Prize *Kann, Mark E.; ''The Gendering of American Politics: Founding Mothers, Founding Fathers, and Political Patriarchy'', (1999
online version
* Middlekauff, Robert; ''The Glorious Cause: The American Revolution, 1763-1789'' (2005
online version
*Miller, John C. ''Origins of the American Revolution.'' (1943
online version
*Miller, John C. ''Triumph of Freedom, 1775-1783,'' (1948
online version
*Previdi, Robert; "Vindicating the Founders: Race, Sex, Class, and Justice in the Origins of America," ''Presidential Studies Quarterly,'' Vol. 29, 1999 * Rakove, Jack. ''Revolutionaries: A New History of the Invention of America'' (2010
excerpt and text search
*Raphael, Ray. ''A People's History of the American Revolution: How Common People Shaped the Fight for Independence'' (2002) *. ''Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised Our Nation'' (2005) Patriots in the American Revolution People of the American Revolution Native Americans in the American Revolution
Tarring and feathering in the United States{{Cat main, Tarring and feathering Vigilantism in the United States Riots and civil disorder in the United States Lynching in the United States Punishments Corporal punishments ...
18th-century rebels