What was the revolutionary war about?
Published 25 Apr 2017
The American Revolutionary War which is also popularly referred as the American war of independence was a conflict between the Kingdom of the Great Britain and the British colonies in America. This war was fought between 1775 and 1783 where the American Thirteen colonists joined hands together to break the British Empire in America. The thirteen colonists overthrew the British rule through seizing the control of the region and formally declared their independence forming a new nation which is today referred to as the United States of America. This revolution has been described as one of the most important event in the American history. Without it the United States of America would never have been as this war gave birth to one of the most powerful nation in the world. (Middlekauf, R 2005 204)
The thirteen colonists first rejected the British authority where they were being governed from England. They vehemently rejected being controlled by the United Kingdom parliament. This meant that rules were being made in a foreign land and applied on the America. The thirteen colonists wanted to have a direct representation where they would be able to elect their own people to govern their territory on their behalf without having anything to do with the crown. The war was between the British and the American people who wanted to be given autonomy from the British Empire.
The American independence war has been described as unique as it involved mother country and people who had migrated from different parts of the world. These are people from Britain, France Scotland and other parts of Europe. In this war there were three groups, those who fought for Britain, the revolutionaries, loyalists and neutrals. The revolutionaries are the American people who wanted to break away from the influence of the crown. They no longer wanted to be ruled from Britain, they wanted to have their own from of representation and independence. On the other hand the loyalists were the people who were sympathetic to the crown authority. They wanted to continue being governed from Britain. These people were not dissatisfied with the British rule as the patriots were; they fought alongside the British soldiers. It is estimated that close to fifteen per cent of the white population was loyalist, some African American also fought on the British side as well as Native Americans. Most of the Loyalists were considered to have been favored by the system that explains why they did not find any fault with it.
They were considered as wealthy people who had property and in most cases the majority benefited from the system which the revolutionaries wanted removed from their land. (Bailyn, B 2000 92)
In any war there are winners and losers, one would have expected this war to have a clear cut line between these two sides, but this war was unique since the same people who won had a part of population who are considered as losers. The loyalists would have liked the British authority to continued being exercised in their land. They owned property and were considered wealthy lot. The war was a disruption of their life and means of creating wealth.
The loyalists lost their properties to the revolutionaries who felt that they had betrayed the course of their history by siding with the enemy who wanted to continue exerting unfair authority upon the mighty country. The loyalists believed that the war was unnecessary since there are other means which would have been used to achieve the end results. They also feared that granting British American colonies independence would lead to the loss of the economic benefits which the colonies derived from being members of the British Empire. To them American revolutionary war was not necessary since it would cause more problems than it would benefit the American colonies.
This group can be described as outright losers on the American land since their wishes never came to be. Their quest to have the British American colonies being governed by the British parliament never came to pass. After the war some of the loyalist had their property confiscated by the patriots. It is also estimated that close to one hundred thousand loyalists had to leave the colonies due to the hostility they experienced due to the position they took in the course of the war. They were seen as traitors who were against the noble cause of fighting for the independence of their land and ending the British parliament domination of the American colonies. Most of the loyalists moved to Canada where they settled while others eventually returned. Their return did not guarantee them their freedom and enjoyment of the fruits of the independence; they were not allowed to hold any public office with some states declaring them as non persons in the American history. (Bailey, Thomas 2009 78)
The Tories have been described as traitors in some quarters whereas in some occasions they have been referred as heroes. In the big picture the Tories were pro establishment therefore they betrayed the course of the American people to be free. They were a group of people who supported the domination of the America by the British parliament something which was not justified. The fact that the colonies paid the taxes to the British Empire without proper representation was a justified cause to seek fro independence. To the Tories this was not justified since most of them had gained from the system. They had amassed enough wealth and wanted to continue enjoying the British Empire protection. The issue of slavery emerged as contentious in the process of constitution making. It shaped the process as well as the future of this country. There are those who felt that slavery should be abolished where others especially those who owned huge tracts of plantation wanted to continue reaping benefits from slavery. This is an issue that divided the nation and led to a conflict which threatened the union. (Middlekauf, R 2005 543)
American revolutionary was all about independence and freedom, but not all the people in the British colonies wanted this therefore there was a division between people in the same land giving rise to the loyalist and patriots. At the end of it all the lines which were drawn during the war eventually disappeared and all Americans came to regard each others as one.
- Bailyn, B.The Ideological Origin of the American Revolution, Harvard University Press (2000)
- Bailey, Thomas.The American Spirit: History as seen by Contemporaries, engage Learning (2009)
- Middlekauf, R.The Glorious Cause: American Revolution, Oxford University Press (2005)