Patriots, Loyalists and Taxation in America

Categories: AmericaTaxation

The French and Indian war had a great impact on British Empire. The most profound impact was the expansion of British territory claims in America. However the war put financial strain on Britain with increased war debts. To offset these costs, King George III issued the Royal Proclamation of 1763, which prohibited westward expansion due to the cost of protecting the colonies from Native Americans, and a series of increased taxation acts. (Cider Act, Stamp Acts, Sugar Act, Townshend Act, etc.)

These acts unceremoniously ended Salutary Neglect, and left the 13 colonies divided in their feelings toward Britain.

Approximately 1/3 of the colonist continued to support England, while about 1/3 of the colonist wanted independence. Those who continued to support England were referred to as Loyalist or Tories, those who favored independence and supported a revolution were called Patriots.

This left approximately 1/3 of the colonist with neutral beliefs. While Patriots and Loyalist were largely different, there were some similarities. Both groups criticized Great Britain’s Taxation of the colonies.

As a result many households were divided in support.(Half Loyalist; Half Patriot) In addition Patriots and Loyalist were much alike in their goal to support their country. (Loyalist who continued to believe Great Britain was their country, and Patriots who viewed America as their own country.)

Conditionally, while both groups were similar in that they criticized taxation they both differed in regard to their view of how to support Great Britain. Loyalist remained loyal to Great Britain even though they disagreed with taxation. Loyalist believed a strong unified monarchy was good for all, and America would be weak without Britain.

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They feared that a “democracy” would be like being ruled by a mob and that many people (for example: immigrants, poor, and/or uneducated people) were not fit to make political decisions (or even to vote).

They believed colonist were subjects of Great Britain and should abide by British law. Loyalist also felt that colonies were too far away to have parliamentary representation and viewed the concept as impractical. Likewise, Patriots believed that people had certain inherent and inalienable rights (Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness), and that whenever any form of government became destructive of these rights, it was the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute a new government. Patriots also disagreed with the taxation of goods and property.

They felt that colonist shouldn’t have been taxed without a voice in parliament. Thus the famous motto: “No Taxation without Representation”. In addition to disagreeing to tax inflation and representation, patriots also disagreed on the type of government that was proper. They proposed a democracy in which the government was to be carried out by the nation’s people, not one monarch with divine rights. As a result of the opposing ideals, there was conflict in America.

The act of choosing sides divided not only families and friends, but also towns and cities. One example of a divided family was Benjamin Franklin. He was one of America’s most prominent Founding Fathers and patriots. He served in the Second Continental Congress during the American Revolution and helped draft the Declaration of Independence in 1776. His illegitimate son, William, was the royal governor of New Jersey. An avid Loyalist, he sided with Great Britain during the Revolution.

This lead his outraged father to remove him from his will. In conclusion to the war, most Loyalist were treated harshly. Those wanting to evacuate were resettled in other colonies of the British Empire, most notably in the future Canadian provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, As well as the Canadian Eastern Townships and Upper Canada in modern-day Ontario.

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Patriots, Loyalists and Taxation in America. (2016, May 10). Retrieved from

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