Who Were the Loyalists in the American Revolution?


Quick Answer

The Loyalists in the American Revolution were the voters and colonists who felt that it was better to remain a British colony and be subject to the laws of the Crown rather than attempt to assert independence. The reasons for this varied, but many Loyalists wanted to remain part of the British Empire because at the time, it was the most prosperous empire in the known world. Loyalists were also called Tories or King's Men.

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Full Answer

It is estimated that up to 20 percent of colonists during the Revolution remained loyal to the crown, taking up arms to fight in the conflict against the revolutionaries. Many loyalists were poor farmers or shopowners, but there were elected officials who sided with the British. Slaves and Native Americans also were Loyalists because they had been promised freedom or better treatment by the British than at the hands of the American colonists.

Some prominent Loyalists were Thomas Hutchinson, William Franklin and Thomas Copley. William Franklin was the son of Benjamin Franklin, estranged from his father due to a difference in political beliefs.Thomas Copley was a famous painter of the period. Many Loyalists emigrated to Canada or to Britain during and after the American Revolution.

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