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A Sweeping, Dramatic History of the Colonists Who Chose to Side with the British in the Revolution

Most British officials remained loyal to the Crown, and the wealthy tended to remain loyal – more so than the poor. Anglican ministers still held with the divine right of monarchs and their own rights to their sinecures. Loyalists also included blacks who were promised freedom by both sides and granted it by neither, Indians who were made all sorts of promises by both sides none of which were honored, indentured servants and some German immigrants, who supported the Crown mainly because George III was of German origin. The number of Loyalists in each colony varied; recent estimates suggest that half the population of New York was Loyalist and it had an aristocratic culture and was occupied throughout the Revolution by the British – it was the last place from which they departed. In the Carolinas, back-country farmers were Loyalist, whereas the Tidewater planters tended to support the Revolution and after the war many loyalists were stripped of their land – and not a few of their lives – in retribution.

Tories : fighting for the king in America’s first civil war    New York : Harper, c 2010 Thomas B. Allen United States History Revolution, 1775-1783 Hardcover. 1st. ed., later printing. xxiii, 468 p. ; 24 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. 415-444) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

The American Revolution was not simply a battle between independence-minded colonists and the oppressive British. As Thomas B. Allen reminds us, it was also a savage and often deeply personal civil war, in which conflicting visions of America pitted neighbor against neighbor and Patriot against Tory on the battlefield, the village green, and even in church.

In this outstanding and vital history, Allen tells the complete story of these other Americans, tracing their lives and experiences throughout the revolutionary period. New York City and Philadelphia were Tory strongholds through much of the war, and at times in the Carolinas and Georgia there were more trained and armed Tories than Redcoats. The Revolution also produced one of the greatest – and least known – migrations in Western history. More than 80,000 Tories left America, most of them relocating to Canada.

John Adams once said that he feared there would never be a good history of the American Revolution because so many documents had left the country with the Tories. Based on documents in archives from Nova Scotia to London, Tories adds a fresh perspective to our knowledge of the Revolution and sheds an important new light on the little-known figures whose lives were forever changed when they remained faithful to their mother country.

One of the officials to remain loyal to the crown was William Franklin, the bastard son of Benjamin Franklin and while this may have been a case of the Franklin family playing both ends against the middle even George Washington’s mother was of decided Tory opinions which may be why one wag suggested the inscription, “First in war, first in peace and first in the minds and hearts of his countrymen – but still a disappointment to his mother,” for one of his statues.


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