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The Brief American Pageant , Sixth Edition
David M. Kennedy, Stanford University
Lizabeth Cohen, Harvard University
Thomas A. Bailey
Mel Piehl, Valparaiso University
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Introduction | Questions to Consider | Source | Related Links

A Profile of Loyalist Claims
Wallace Brown

Instructors' Note
This short exercise can be used in class discussion or adapted to a writing exercise. It can be paired with the "Charleston, South Carolina, Sons Of Liberty (1766)" for purposes of comparison. It's probably fair to say that students will have the most difficulty with the third group of questions. Students should be made aware that they were working from primary data in the South Carolina case. They made their own decisions about who was assigned to a particular occupational category. The Loyalist table is a secondary source, and the author made important decisions before summarizing them in the table. Students should also know that historians who engage in quantitative history normally include an appendix, indicating to the reader how these decisions were made.

There is a sometimes forgotten reality of Revolutionary America: the fact that the colonial population was deeply divided on the issue of a complete break with England. By focusing on the impact of the Revolution on the Crown's loyal subjects this document serves, first, as a reminder that revolutions are not and never have been polite disagreements among friends and, second, indicates who were likely to be Loyalists.

Questions to Consider
  1. What occupational groups were more likely to support the cause of the Crown? What was the relationship among social class, economic standing, and Toryism?

  2. By referring to the table constructed from the data in "Charleston, South Carolina, Sons of Liberty (1766)" compare and contrast the socioeconomic profiles of the Revolutionaries and Loyalists.

  3. Are there missing data or some other condition that would weaken a generalization based on this table? To what extent is generalization possible on the question of Loyalist identity? What precautions are necessary in analyzing the available social and economic data like that displayed in the table?

OccupationNo. of Claimants% of Claimants
Farmers1,368        49.1        
    (a) Artisans274        9.8        
    (b) Merchants and Shopkeepers517        18.6        
    (c) Miscellaneous innkeepers, seamen, etc.92        3.3        
Combined Commerce883        31.7        
    (a) Lawyers55                
    (b) Teachers and professors21                
    (c) Doctors81                
    (d) Anglican clerics63                
    (e) Other clerics7                
    (f) Miscellaneous26                
Combined professions253        9.1        
Officeholders282        10.1        

Source: Wallace Brown, The Good Americans: The Loyalists in the American Revolution (New York: William Morrow and Company, 1969), pp. 206-207.


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