Patriot (American Revolution)
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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, the Thirteen American Colonies, or later as the United Colonies, were a group of Kingdom of Great Britain, British Colony, colonies on the Atlantic coast of North America. Fo ...
who rejected British rule during the
American Revolution The American Revolution was an ideological and political revolution that occurred in British America between 1765 and 1791. The Americans in the Thirteen Colonies formed independent states that defeated the British in the American Revolut ...
, and declared the
United States of America The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...
an independent nation in July 1776. Their decision was based on the political philosophy of
republicanism Republicanism is a political ideology centered on citizenship in a state (polity), state organized as a republic. Historically, it emphasises the idea of self-rule and ranges from the rule of a representative minority or oligarchy to popular ...
—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 Founding Fathers of the United States, Founding Father who served as the third president of the United States from 18 ...
,
John Adams John Adams (October 30, 1735 – July 4, 1826) was an American statesman, attorney, diplomat, writer, and Founding Fathers of the United States, Founding Father who served as the second president of the United States from 1797 to 1801. Befor ...
, 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 th ...
. They were opposed by the Loyalists, 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, writer, and Founding Fathers of the United States, Founding Father who served as the second president of the United States from 1797 to 1801. Befor ...
, students such as
Alexander Hamilton Alexander Hamilton (January 11, 1755 or 1757July 12, 1804) was an American military officer, statesman, and Founding Fathers of the United States, Founding Father who served as the first United States secretary of the treasury from 1789 to ...
, planters such as
Thomas Jefferson Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743 – July 4, 1826) was an American statesman, diplomat, lawyer, architect, philosopher, and Founding Fathers of the United States, Founding Father who served as the third president of the United States from 18 ...
and
George Mason George Mason (October 7, 1792) was an American planter class, planter, politician, Founding Father of the United States, Founding Father, and delegate to the U.S. Constitutional Convention of 1787, one of the three delegates present who refused ...
, merchants such as Alexander McDougall and
John Hancock John Hancock ( – October 8, 1793) was an American Founding Fathers of the United States, Founding Father, merchant, statesman, and prominent Patriot (American Revolution), Patriot of the American Revolution. He served as President of the C ...
, and farmers such as Daniel Shays and Joseph Plumb Martin. They also included slaves and freemen such as Crispus Attucks, one of the first casualties of the American Revolution; James Armistead Lafayette, who served as a double agent for the
Continental Army The Continental Army was the army of the United Colonies (the Thirteen Colonies) in the American Revolution, Revolutionary-era United States. It was formed by the Second Continental Congress after the outbreak of the American Revolutionary Wa ...
; and Jack Sisson, leader of the first successful
black operation A black operation or black op is a covert operation, 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 opera ...
mission in American history under the command of Colonel William Barton, resulting in the capture of British General Richard Prescott.


Terminology


"Whigs" or "Patriots"

The critics of British policy towards the colonies called themselves "Whigs" after 1768, identifying with members of the British Whig 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, literary criticism, critic, biographer, editor and lexicogra ...
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 known as Toryism, based on a British version of Traditionalist conservatism, traditionalism and conservatism, which upholds the supremacy of social order as it has evolved in the English cul ...
'' or ''
royalist A royalist supports a particular monarch as head of state for a particular kingdom, or of a particular dynastic claim. In the abstract, this position is royalism. It is distinct from monarchism, which advocates a monarchical system of gov ...
s'', identifying with the political philosophy of
traditionalist conservatism Traditionalist conservatism, often known as classical conservatism, is a political philosophy, political and social philosophy that emphasizes the importance of transcendent moral principles, manifested through certain natural laws to which ...
dominant in Great Britain. During the Revolution, these persons became known primarily as '' Loyalists''. Afterward, some 15% of Loyalists emigrated north to the remaining British territories in
Canada Canada is a country in North America. Its Provinces and territories of Canada, ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean and northward into the Arctic Ocean, covering over , making it the world ...
. 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 loosely organized, clandestine, sometimes violent, political organization active in the Thirteen Colonies, Thirteen American Colonies founded to advance the Rights of Englishmen, rights of the colonists and to fight t ...
, 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 a state. National founders are typically those who played an influential role in setting up the systems of governance, (i.e. ...
. They represented a cross-section of the population of the
Thirteen Colonies The Thirteen Colonies, also known as the Thirteen British Colonies, the Thirteen American Colonies, or later as the United Colonies, were a group of Kingdom of Great Britain, British Colony, colonies on the Atlantic coast of North America. Fo ...
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, 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), Geo ...
, or the
West Indies The West Indies is a Subregion#North America, subregion of North America, surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea that includes 13 independent island country, island countries and 18 dependent territory, ...
.


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 Direct action#Violent direct action, political and Mercantilism, mercantile protest by the Sons of Liberty in Boston, Province of Massachusetts Bay, Massachusetts, on December 16, 1773. The target was the ...
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 American colonists for Great Britain Great Britain is an island in the No ...
" 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" before the
French and Indian War The French and Indian War (1754–1763) was a theater of the Seven Years' War, which pitted the North American colonies of the British Empire against those of the French colonial Empire, French, each side being supported by various Native Ame ...
. 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 colonists in the Thirteen Colonies who remained loyal to the The Crown, British Crown during the American Revolutionary War, often referred to as Tories, Royalists or King's Men at the time. They were opposed by the Patriot (Ame ...


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). * Roberts, Cokie. ''Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised Our Nation'' (2005). 1768 establishments in the Thirteen Colonies 1787 disestablishments in the United States * Tarring and feathering in the United States