Loyalist (American Revolution)
The Thirteen Colonies were English and later British colonies established on the Atlantic coast of North America between 1607 and 1733. They declared their independence in the American Revolution and formed the United States of America...
who remained loyal to the Kingdom of Great Britain
Kingdom of Great Britain
The former Kingdom of Great Britain, sometimes described as the 'United Kingdom of Great Britain', That the Two Kingdoms of Scotland and England, shall upon the 1st May next ensuing the date hereof, and forever after, be United into One Kingdom by the Name of GREAT BRITAIN. was a sovereign...
(and the British monarchy
Monarchy of the United Kingdom
The monarchy of the United Kingdom is the constitutional monarchy of the United Kingdom and its overseas territories. The present monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, has reigned since 6 February 1952. She and her immediate family undertake various official, ceremonial and representational duties...
) during the American Revolutionary War
American Revolutionary War
The American Revolutionary War , the American War of Independence, or simply the Revolutionary War, began as a war between the Kingdom of Great Britain and thirteen British colonies in North America, and ended in a global war between several European great powers.The war was the result of the...
. At the time they were often called Tories
Toryism is a traditionalist and conservative political philosophy which grew out of the Cavalier faction in the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. It is a prominent ideology in the politics of the United Kingdom, but also features in parts of The Commonwealth, particularly in Canada...
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 government, but not necessarily a particular monarch...
s, or King's Men. They were opposed by the Patriots
Patriot (American Revolution)
Patriots is a name often used to describe the colonists of the British Thirteen United Colonies who rebelled against British control during the American Revolution. It was their leading figures who, in July 1776, declared the United States of America an independent nation...
, those who supported the revolution. When their cause was defeated, about 20% of the Loyalists fled to other parts of the British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...
, in Britain
Great Britain or Britain is an island situated to the northwest of Continental Europe. It is the ninth largest island in the world, and the largest European island, as well as the largest of the British Isles...
or elsewhere in British North America
British North America
British North America is a historical term. It consisted of the colonies and territories of the British Empire in continental North America after the end of the American Revolutionary War and the recognition of American independence in 1783.At the start of the Revolutionary War in 1775 the British...
, especially Ontario
The Province of Upper Canada was a political division in British Canada established in 1791 by the British Empire to govern the central third of the lands in British North America and to accommodate Loyalist refugees from the United States of America after the American Revolution...
and New Brunswick
New Brunswick is one of Canada's three Maritime provinces and is the only province in the federation that is constitutionally bilingual . The provincial capital is Fredericton and Saint John is the most populous city. Greater Moncton is the largest Census Metropolitan Area...
, where they were called United Empire Loyalists
United Empire Loyalists
The name United Empire Loyalists is an honorific given after the fact to those American Loyalists who resettled in British North America and other British Colonies as an act of fealty to King George III after the British defeat in the American Revolutionary War and prior to the Treaty of Paris...
. Most were compensated with Canadian land or British cash distributed through formal claims procedures.
Historians have estimated that between 15 and 20 percent of the European-American population of the colonies were Loyalists.
Larabee (1948) has identified eight characteristics of the Loyalists that made them essentially conservative:
- Psychologically they were older, better established, and resisted innovation.
- They felt that resistance to the Crown—the legitimate government—was morally wrong.
- They were alienated when the Patriots resorted to violence, such as burning houses and tarring and featheringTarring and featheringTarring and feathering is a physical punishment, used to enforce unofficial justice or revenge. It was used in feudal Europe and its colonies in the early modern period, as well as the early American frontier, mostly as a type of mob vengeance .-Description:In a typical tar-and-feathers attack, the...
- They wanted to take a middle-of-the road position and were angry when forced by the Patriots to declare their opposition.
- They had a long-standing sentimental attachment to Britain (often with business and family links).
- They were procrastinators who realized that independence was bound to come some day, but wanted to postpone the moment.
- They were rightly cautious and afraid of the anarchy stemming from mob rule, which did cost many their property and security after the revolution.
- Some say they were pessimists who lacked the confidence in the future displayed by the Patriots, while others point to the memory and dreadful experience of many Scottish immigrants who had already seen or paid the price of rebellion in dispossession and clearance from their prior homeland.
The Loyalists were generally passive, waiting for London to send in an army to suppress the rebellion.