Colonists chose to be Patriots largely due to public sentiment against England's governing policies and lack of representation. Patriots supported views of the Enlightenment with promoted self-rule and an end to monarchies.
Both Patriots and Loyalists were minority parties during colonial times. A large public segment, about 45 percent, did not officially choose sides. Patriots gained influence and public support through political literature and newspapers.
England's unpopular economic and political policies increased negative sentiment against the English government and the Loyalists. Additionally, public sentiment saw the Loyalists as the wealthy elite who wanted to maintain their lifestyles and business interests compared to the interests of the general public.