Lecture: Who Were the Loyalists?

Joanne Freeman - Yale

Previous LectureNext Lecture


Lecture Description

The lecture first concludes the discussion of the First Continental Congress, which met in 1774. Ultimately, although its delegates represented a range of opinions, the voices of the political radicals in the Congress were the loudest. In October 1774, the Continental Congress passed both the radical Suffolk Resolves and the Declaration and Resolves, which laid out the colonists' grievances with Parliament. The Congress also sent a petition to the King which warned him that the British Parliament was stripping the American colonists of their rights as English citizens. Given such radical measures, by early 1775, many American colonists were choosing sides in the growing conflict, and many chose to be Loyalists. Professor Freeman concludes her lecture with a discussion of the varied reasons why different Loyalists chose to support the British Crown, and what kinds of people tended to be Loyalists in the American Revolution.

Course Description

The American Revolution entailed some remarkable transformations--converting British colonists into American revolutionaries, and a cluster of colonies into a confederation of states with a common cause--but it was far more complex and enduring then the fighting of a war. As John Adams put it, "The Revolution was in the Minds of the people... before a drop of blood was drawn at Lexington"--and it continued long past America's victory at Yorktown. This course will examine the Revolution from this broad perspective, tracing the participants' shifting sense of themselves as British subjects, colonial settlers, revolutionaries, and Americans.

from course: The American Revolution


Related Lectures