Today in History
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Loyalists and Patriots - Guided Reading
The British king began taxing the American colonies after the French and Indian War. He hoped tax money would make up for the money he had spent on the war. The king taxed most items shipped to the colonies. Some of these items were made easily and cheaply in the colonies, but even with the tax, others were cheaper to buy from Britain. Some colonists thought these taxes were unfair. These colonists were called Patriots. Others thought they were British colonists and should follow the king’s laws. These colonists were called the Loyalists. They believed they needed Britain to survive. This led some to argue and question what they should do. Should they allow the king to bully them? Would they be punished for breaking the king’s laws?
Patriots thought the taxes were unfair. They wanted to have a say in the way they were ruled. The king would not allow this. The king and parliament made laws. The colonists did not have anyone in parliament to speak for them. This angered some colonists. They rebelled against the king’s laws and taxes. Some formed groups such as the Sons of Liberty. The Sons of Liberty were in many colonies. They tried to send a message to the king. They wanted him to know they would not stand for his unfair treatment. They burned homes of royal governors. They also burned or dumped shipments of British goods. They mocked the British soldiers. They also teased and attacked loyalists. The patriots wanted an end to the taxes, but they also wanted freedom from the king. They believed America should be its own country. They believed all people should have a say in how they are ruled. They had secret meetings about gaining freedom and risked being caught and jailed. The patriots fought in the American army and militia in the Revolutionary War. The British jailed or hanged any patriots they captured because patriots were traitors to the king.
Loyalists sided with Britain. They believed they were British colonists and should follow the king’s laws. They would argue with patriots and defend the king. Sometimes the king and royal governors rewarded them for their loyalty. They were given jobs that helped the British. Some became part of the governors’ councils. Others would spy on patriots and report to the British troops or royal governors. One loyalist was Thomas Hutchinson. Thomas was a very smart, young man from Massachusetts. He owned a lot of land and was a very good businessman. He believed in the king and British law. The royal governor appointed him to the council. Thomas soon became his colony’s delegate in England. When he returned to the colonies, he became lieutenant governor and tried to keep the colony running smoothly. This was hard because the patriots were pushing for an end to British rule. The Sons of Liberty burned Thomas’ home. He lost all his books and papers for work. He later became governor when the royal governor retired. Thomas took office just as the Boston Massacre occurred. Most loyalists fought with the British in the Revolutionary War.