- Patriot (American Revolution)
:"This article concerns Patriots in the
American Revolution. For other uses, see Patriot (disambiguation)."
Patriots (also known as Americans, Whigs, Revolutionaries, Congress-Men or Rebels) was the name the colonists of the British
Thirteen Colonieswho rebelled against British control during the American Revolutioncalled themselves. It was their leading figures who, in July 1776, declared the United States of America an independent nation. Their rebellion was based on the political philosophy of republicanism, as expressed by pamphleteers such as Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, and Thomas Paine.
The term “Patriot” was in use by American colonists prior to the war during the 1760s, referring to the American Patriot Party. Members of the American Patriot Party also called themselves Whigs after 1768, identifying with members of the
British Whig Party, i.e., Radical Whigsand Patriot Whigs, who favored similar colonial policies.Murray, Stuart: "Smithsonian Q & A: The American Revolution", HarperCollins Publishers by Hydra Publishing (in collaboration with the Smithsonian Institution), New York (2006) p. 31.]
As a group, Patriots comprised men and women representing the full array of social, economic, ethnic and racial backgrounds. They included college students like Alexander Hamilton, planters like Thomas Jefferson, merchants like
Alexander McDougall, and plain farmers like Daniel Shaysand Joseph Plumb Martin.
Many Patriots were active before
1775in groups such as the Sons of Liberty. The most prominent leaders of the Patriots are referred to today by Americans as the Founding Fathers of the United States.
“Patriot” and “Patriot Party” terminology in use prior to the Revolutionary War
The term “Patriot” was in use by American colonists prior to the war during the 1760s, referring to the American Patriot Party. Members of the colonial American Patriot Party identified with the
British Whig Party, i.e., Radical Whigsand Patriot Whigs, who favored similar colonial policies.
Additionally, the terminology "Patriot party" was in use in Virginia and Massachusetts early in colonial history during the 1600’s, with regard to groups asserting colonial rights"The Outlook, Vol. LXXXVI, May-August 1907", The Outlook Co., New York (1907) p. 61.] and resistance to the King.Ryerson, Egerton: "The Loyalists of America and Their Times, Vol. I, Second Edition", William Briggs, Toronto (1880) p. 208.]
An early example of the Patriot Party in colonial America, from early colonial Virginia during 1618-19:
By this time  there were two distinct parties, not only in the Virginia Company, but in the Virginia Colony, the one being known as the “Court party,” the other as the “Patriot party.”
In 1619 the Patriot party secured the right for the settlers in Virginia to elect a Representative Assembly…This was the first representative body ever assembled on the American continent. From the first the representatives began to assert their rights.
During 1683 in colonial Massachusetts, on the issue of the writ of quo warranto by the King:
The announcement of this decisive act on the part of the King produced sensation throughout the colony, and gave rise to the question, “What shall Massachusetts do?” One part of the colony advocated submission; another party advocated resistance. The former were called the “Moderate party,” the latter the “Patriot party” – the commencement of the two parties which were afterwards known as United Empire Loyalists and Revolutionists.Ryerson, Egerton: "The Loyalists of America and Their Times, Vol. I, Second Edition", William Briggs, Toronto (1880) p. 208.]
From the period (1683) one may date the origin of the two parties – the Patriots and the Prerogative men – between whom controversy scarcely intermitted, and was never ended until the separation of the two countries.Minot, George Richards: "Continuation of the History of the Province of Massachusetts Bay, Vol. I", James Whit and Co., Boston (1803) p. 51.]
About the Patriots
The Patriots came from many different backgrounds. Among the most active of the Patriots group were highly educated and fairly wealthy. However, without the support of the ordinary men and women, such as farmers, lawyers, mechanics, seamstresses, homemakers, shopkeepers, and ministers, the independence would have failed. These middle and lower class didn’t like their economic situation because of British taxation. These taxes were not "legal" because of the fact that the colonists were not directly represented within Parliament. The British believed in "virtual representation," that is, all members of Parliament represent the interests of all the citizens of the British empire. Because of the fact that the Patriots believed the taxes were not legal, they tended to rebel against new taxes.
Many historians believe that no more than 2/5 of colonists openly joined the revolution. There are two major theories: the 1/3,1/3,1/3 theory states that 1/3 of the colonists were Patriots, 1/3 of the colonists were Loyalists, while 1/3 of the colonists did not know or did not care about the American Revolution; the other states that about 35-40% were Patriots, 30-35% were neutral, while 25-30% were Loyalists.
Though Patriots declared that they were loyal to the king, they believed that the assemblies should control issues relating just to the colonies. They should be able to run themselves. In fact, they have been running themselves after the period of "salutary neglect" before the French and Indian War. Some radical Patriots tarred and feathered tax collectors and customs officers, making those positions dangerous, especially in New England, where there were the most Patriots. Because the New England colonies were set up based upon trade, these new British taxes affected their lives and economy the most.
List of prominent Patriots
Most of the individuals listed below served the American Revolution in multiple capacities.
tatesmen and office holders
Pamphleteers and activists
James Mitchell Varnum
Joseph Bradley Varnum
British Whig Party
Patriot Whigs, later Patriot Party
* Joseph J. Ellis. "Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation" (2002), Pulitzer Prize
* Mark E. Kann; "The Gendering of American Politics: Founding Mothers, Founding Fathers, and Political Patriarchy", Praeger (1999) [http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=23605288 online version]
* Robert Middlekauff; "The Glorious Cause: The American Revolution, 1763-1789" (2005) [http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=84633736 online version]
* John C. Miller; "Origins of the American Revolution." (1943) [http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=493014 online version]
* John C. Miller; "Triumph of Freedom, 1775-1783," (1948) [http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=14559136 online version]
* Stuart A. P. Murray; "Smithsonian Q & A: The American Revolution", HarperCollins Publishers by Hydra Publishing, New York (2006) p. 31.
* Robert Previdi; "Vindicating the Founders: Race, Sex, Class, and Justice in the Origins of America," "Presidential Studies Quarterly," Vol. 29, 1999
* Ray Raphael. "A People's History of the American Revolution: How Common People Shaped the Fight for Independence" (2002)
* Cokie Roberts. "Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised Our Nation" (2005)
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.