May 1, 2011

AFTER THE REVOLUTION THE CLEANSING:

The King’s Men, After the American Revolution: a review of LIBERTY’S EXILES: American Loyalists in the Revolutionary World By Maya Jasanoff (THOMAS BENDER, 5/01/11, NY Times Book Review)

Only a tiny fraction of the books written on the American Revolution are devoted to the loyalists — the residents of the 13 colonies who chose to leave their homes rather than become citizens of the new republic. Such a nation-bound approach to the writing of American history implies that the lives of those who left were not significant. Yet they were, and Maya Jasanoff, who teaches history at Harvard, has provided a richly informative account of those who made the choice to embrace imperial Britain. As earlier historians of the Revolution have pointed out, the loyalists tended to have strong connections to the imperial administration, belong to the Anglican Church and possess close business or family ties to Britain. But not all who left fitted such a profile. Escaped slaves had obvious reason to depart, and so did those whose property was confiscated by the revolutionaries. Most pervasively, of course, the loyalists shared a loyalty to the king.

Jasanoff estimates that 60,000 loyalists opted to leave America, including at least 8,000 free blacks. In addition, 15,000 enslaved people of African descent were carried away by their owners. The migration was hardly a small one: in proportion to population, the American Revolution resulted in five times more departures than its more violent French counterpart.


We were the Shi'a, the loyalists the Sunni.



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Posted by at May 1, 2011 5:50 AM
  

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