Ideologically Driven Loyalists: The Values that Defined Loyal Colonists in the American Revolution

Thumbnail Image
Issue Date
Cloutier, Cassandra
Paternalism , Loyalism , American Revolution
The American Revolution is typically viewed as a war for independence between two groups, the revolutionaries and their oppressors, the British. Little is known about another party: the Loyalists. This group of people was set apart from the other players in the Revolution. They were men, and supporting women, who opposed the Revolution, unified by their politics and paternalistic values. These ideologies appealed to a wide array of people. Liberal constitutionalism, a political ideology in which one is open to change within the law of the constitution, generated a population of Loyalists who were white males that had held these views prior to the Revolution. Paternalism ushered in a vast range of other Loyalists, such as women and African Americans, because of their adherence to following the male authority, which in this case was the king. Using evidence from Peter Oliver's manuscript and accounts from various secondary sources, this paper argues that Loyalists were a group defined by their politically moderate and paternalistic values.