Presentation- Loyalists in Revolutionary America
Name: Presentation- Loyalists in Revolutionary America
Date: August 17, 2017
Time: 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM EDT
Presented by Keene State College Professor Gregory Knouff, Loyalists in Revolutionary America is the second talk in the Society’s annual 3-part Tavern Lecture Series. Historical stereotypes of Loyalists in the American Revolution bound. They are often maligned as traitors to their nation or simply as selfish, wealthy conservatives who could not tolerate democratic social change. However, Loyalists’ backgrounds, worldviews, and experiences were considerably more complex. Loyalists came from a variety of social, political, ethnic, and religious backgrounds. What they generally had in common was a reluctance or refusal to accept Revolutionary claims to authority. Loyalists viewed the rebellion in the broader context of eighteenth-century British-American constitutional politics. In their view, the rebels were dangerous demagogues who threatened the very essence of British liberty by attempting to overthrow balanced government. Loyalists feared that the rebels masked their own selfish desires to establish authoritarian forms of government, particularly in the form of extralegal committees, in the rhetoric of republicanism. This talk will discuss Loyalists’ shared experiences in facing what they viewed as their mistreatment at the hands of the real traitors their nation, the rebels. It focuses particularly on the experience of Loyalists in New Hampshire and those in Cheshire County. It also will suggest that one of the forgotten elements of the American Revolution was that it was a bitter civil war between American political factions.