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Division of Opinion Among the American Colonists

The American Revolution was in fact performed by the will of the minority of the colonists. Calhoon’s estimates that about 15 to 20 percent of the colonists stayed loyal to the crown, while among the rest many hesitated before they took the side of independents, or avoided the struggle. Freedom fighters constituted about 40-45% of the colonies population. The majority either did not want freedom, or had no certain position (Calhoon 1991).

Freedom fighters came mostly from old American families whose ancestries migrated to America decades ago, while among recent immigrants the majority did not yet feel that America was their land. They felt like living in a part of the British Empire but not in a separate country. This especially related to settlers from countries other than Britain (like Germans in Pennsylvania) and some religious groups like Quakers who simply did not understand the idea of independence (Middlekauff 550). Revolution meant changes.

Imperial domain had to become a separate nation, the God Anointed King had to be replaced by a President and royalism had to give place to democracy. Old economic and political ties would be ruined and many of the colonists feared those changes. Older and wealthier colonists were quite content with conditions of their living. Revolution meant risk of losing everything for them (Calhoon 1991). Trivial fear should not be disregarded as factor that divided colonists. Britain seemed strong enough and the punishment for rebels in Britain was severe enough to make many of the colonists afraid of freedom fighting.

And even in case the war would be won, a tiny nation was surrounded by great powers and warlike Indian tribes. Doubts about living independently were a good cause that brought a number of colonists on the British side.

Bibliography: 1. Calhoon, Robert M. “Loyalism and neutrality”. The Blackwell Encyclopedia of the American Revolution Ed. Jack P. Greene and J. R. Pole, Blackwell Publishers, 1991. 2. Middlekauff, Robert. The Glorious Cause: The American Revolution, 1763-1789. New York: Oxford University Press, 1985.

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