Revolutionary war question

Reply Thu 4 Oct, 2007 05:54 pm
I just have a quick question...

Why did almost 1/3 of Colonial Americans citizens remain loyal to England?

also can someone explain to me the effects that the Scientific Revolution and Salutary Neglect had on the colonies revolution?

Thanks so much you guys always help me out!
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Reply Thu 4 Oct, 2007 06:30 pm
The Answer Is Unknown...


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Reply Fri 5 Oct, 2007 12:23 am
Re: Revolutionary war question
tcook215 wrote:
I just have a quick question...

Why did almost 1/3 of Colonial Americans citizens remain loyal to England?

also, some profited from it

also can someone explain to me
the effects that the Scientific Revolution
and Salutary Neglect had on the colonies revolution?

Salutary Neglect showed Americans
that thay had to, thay cud, and thay DID
get along with no help from the King.
It proved American self reliance.


Thanks so much you guys always help me out!

Vote Republican
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Reply Fri 5 Oct, 2007 08:46 am
The reasons why many of the Colonists remained loyal are not simple--nothing about human behavior, and therefore about history, ever is. Some were looking to their own personal interests, obviously--but that doesn't automatically mean that loyalists could be identified by economic class. Many, many merchants had participated in the boycotts which accompanied the agitation against Parliament in the 1760s, and in particular in response to the Stamp Act. The principle reluctance of merchants to participate in a boycott came from a suspicion that their competitors would not, and that they'd be "suckered." They well understood that keeping the good will of their customers (other colonists) was more important than keeping the good will of their suppliers (in England), who would, after all, hope to keep the same markets. In the end, mercantile interests in England put pressure on the Lords of Trade (the body which administered the colonies) because boycotts were hurting those merchants--and therefore Parliament eventually repealed the Stamp Act, although the passed at the same time the Declaratory Act, in which they explicitly stated that could legislate for the colonies in all matters without let or hindrance.

The crisis which enveloped the North American colonies after the end of the Seven Years War/French and Indian War arose from the stupidity and pigheadedness of George III, but really, of Lord Bute. Bute had been George's companion and tutor, and George attempted to make him his Prime Minister when he (George) came to the throne. The Seven Years War had cost England a lot of money--not so much in direct military expenses, although there was some of that, but more in the literally millions in gold which they paid to keep Prussia and its King, Frederick II, known as Frederick the Great in the war.

These things are never simple, so get comforatable. The first successful (although just barely) colony was at Jamestown in Virginia. Virginia was named that after Elizabeth, the Virgin Queen, but it was not successfully colonized until after she had died in 1603, and James VI and I (James VI of Scotland, and, with the death of Elizabeth, James I of England) came to the throne--hence, Jamestown.

In those days, such colonies were commerical ventures--venture capitalism carried out naively and in the most clumsy manner. The Virginia Company got a grant of land from James (it's easy to give away land which no one appears to own, especially is you define the aboriginal inhabitants--the Indians--as savages at the outset, and discount any claim they might make, or which might be made on their behalf), and the idea was that the shareholders would make money selling the land off to eager settlers, who would line up in London to sign on. The core principle is not flawed--land, real property, is a non-portable form of wealth which is far more valuable that the coins you can jingle as you carry them around in your pocket. The right to vote depended upon property qualifications--if you had not property, you had no vote. Parliament was a body of the representatives of land owners, or other wealthy men. Most people in Europe didn't own squat, or owned so little, that they had no say in the affairs of their nations. So owning land could be very important.

One day, that would make America a magnetic destination for Europeans--all the horseshit they feed you in school about fleeing religious persecution or seeking political freedom is a load of crap--then, and later, the biggest draw was the opportunity to own land, and to be somebody, to take a hand in deciding the direction of affairs in one's community, to become an ancestor, by having something to leave in the way of real wealth.

But that wasn't working out as well in 1607 as it would after 1783. The Spaniards had already had colonies from what is now Georgia to what is now Virginia, which they had abandoned. The natives were hostile, understandably so, given how they had perceived the Spanish, basically as thieving liars. The climate was hostile--the region was in the grip of a drought which began before the English arrived, and continued to be severe for about the next decade. From 80% to 90% of the people who arrived at Jamestown each year for the first decade were dead before the next year rolled around. People who could actually afford to buy land, even at the low, low prices being offered in London by an increasingly desperate Virginia Company, were sending out second or third sons, seeing a way to rid themselves of an embarrassment (the oldest son was the one who counted, because he inherited the family estate, and if he lived to adulthood, his younger brothers became an embarrassment and a problem). A good many of the early colonists were not prepared to deal with the situation they found. Slavery was not then in use--the Dutch captain who landed with a ship of rapidly dying Africans in 1609 had trouble even giving them away, in a colony which could barely feed itself, and saw little reason to add more mouths to feed. No one really knew what they would do with the land even if they could cultivate it without being slaughtered by the Indians.

They were getting no help from London, so they formed their own rough government, in the form of the House of Burgesses. By the time the Virginia Company was declared bankrupt, and the charter revoked, the people in Virginia were already governing themselves, thank you very much. A royal governor sent out to a place he knew nothing about and who could never have survived on his own there without the help of those who had survived before him was an annoyance to be endured, not any sort of assistance.

American history texts have long been polluted by myths about the "Pilgrim Fathers"--as though there had never been a colony in Virginia, and as though the handful of religious crackpots who landed at "Plymouth Rock" were the founders of a great nation. Horsie poop. The "Pilgrims" were congregational Puritans (that means Calvinists who recognized no higher authority than their own local congregation--if you don't know what Calvinist means, look it up, this is already going to be too long) who had wandered off to Holland, but who were offended by the relative tolerance of the Dutch, who didn't discriminate against any forms of Protestant (except the Baptists, whom everyone despised) and who didn't slaughter the Catholics out of hand, and who refrained from stealing most of what the Catholics owned. That was far too tolerant for the "Pilgrims," so many of them eventually got together enough cash to get their own boat (largely by begging from their more prosperous co-religionists who had stayed in England) and head out for Massachusetts.

If it hasn't occurred to you on your own, allow me to point out that they headed for Massachusetts because it was already known, and people were already settling there. Samuel Maverick, who had set up a homestead where Salem, Massachusetts lies today, was one of the earliest to demonstrate that it were possible to set up and live about as well in Massachusetts as one could in England. A charter had already been granted for the Massachusetts Bay Company, to a group of west country merchants, mostly in Bristol--who also happened to be Puritans. The whole Pilgrim Fathers thing is New England propaganda to make them seem more important in our history than they actually were. What happened later in and around Boston would have been a little embarrassing, so it was easier to play up the Plymouth colony--which, frankly, would have starved to death, or died of disease due to the filth in which people commonly lived in those days, if other white settlers had not helped to support them. The crapola about the assistance of the Indians and the "first thanksgiving" is just that, crapola. If the first settlers, men like Maverick, had not been reasonably self-sufficient and capable, they likely would have been murdered out of hand for their trinkets by the local Indians. The Indians of the region were suspicious, but hadn't had a bad experience as was the case with the Indians in Virginia who had met the Spaniards (always a bad experience--the Spaniards were ever less than charming neighbors), so they tolerated the new settlers. There is little evidence that they supported white folks from any natural generosity or compassion on their part (Indians in our age have their own PR department, and they peddle just as much horsie poop as any other PR organization), and if they had anything to do at all with the settlers, they bartered for what were trinkets to the English, but valuable to the Indians--just as maize and wild game were negligible items to an Indian, but an iron kettle was a prize beyond valuation.

One of the reasons the New England myth begins and ends with the "Pilgrim Fathers" at "Plymouth Rock" is that the real story is less flattering. When charters were issued for such corporate efforts, they almost always held that the Governor and Company of Adventurers (in the case of the Massachusetts Bay Company, they were known as "Selectmen") would meet on an occasional and regular basis in London. But the Massachusetts Bay Company charter did not specify that the Governor and Selectmen would meet in London, it did not specify where they would meet--this is probably no accident, and very likely was a slick move on the part of the Puritan Bristol merchants, but we'll never know for sure. Any company in those days had a Governor, it roughly means the same as CEO does today. Selectman simply means a representative of one of the shareholders. The omission of the requirement to meet in London was crucial.

After James I died, he was succeeded by his son, Charles I, who was a pigheaded High Church Protestant whose character made him a perfect candidate to cut off his own nose to spite his face. I won't go into details, but basically he managed to piss off just about everyone in England and Scotland (he was King of both countries, but separately--they had not yet been united). In 1628, he prorogued Parliament, which means he sent them home sine die (with no date to meet again specified), and no new election to be called. He did this because they would not give him the money he wanted, and just wanted to argue religion. That really pissed him off, because he wanted the money to shove his brand of religion down the collective throats of England and Scotland. The Puritans were alarmed, and things went from bad to worse, with royal proclamations saying you couldn't take gold and silver out of England (no paper money in those days), and then that you couldn't even leave England without permission.

There was a young lawyer in the Court of Wards and Liveries (a royal institution the purpose of which was to rob minors who had inherited valuable estates) named John Winthrop, and the shareholders of the Massachusetts Bay Company approached him to ask him to be Governor of the Company. He agreed, and he, the Lieutenant Governor and the Selectmen took ship for Massachusetts, and physically took the charter with them. Forget all the horsie poop you were taught about "the Mayflower Compact"--it was not the first such document in New England, nor did it prove to be that important. The charter that Winthrop brought with him was far more important, and that was because of what Winthrop did after he got there in 1630--ten years after the rather incompetent but willing "Pilgrims" landed at Plymouth. Although the Puritans who orginally got the Massachusetts Bay Company charter were from the west of England, most of the new settlers were from the east of England, and they named their new and rapidly growing town after a town many of them or their families had come from in Lincolnshire, the town of Boston.

In Boston, Winthrop decreed that any man who was the member of a recognized congregation could have a vote in the company, just as though he were a Selectman. This was a damned narrow franchise by our standards--adult white males who went to the approved church--but it was radical by the terms of the day. The Puritans--neither those at Boston, nor the "Pilgrims" at Plymouth--did not believe in religious tolerance. They wanted freedom to practice their own religion, but didn't intend to allow that for anyone else. So basically, every adult male was a member of the assembly of Governor and Selectmen, because they literally drove out anyone who dissented. That was how Roger Williams came to found Rhode Island, which elected its own governor, and never had a royal governor, even after the royal government took over the colonies in earnest after 1660. Many settlers had already moved to the Connecticut River valley already (they had a written "constitution" before the "Mayflower Compact" had been written), and they followed the same basic lead. Rhode Island, wedged between the two, became a refuge for those "heretics" driven out of those colonies, and was the only place in North America practicing "religious freedom"--provided you were white, and weren't a Catholic, Muslim or Jew.

Crap like "Salutary Neglect" are just expression created in hindsight, and they obscure more than they reveal. The royal government was not willfully neglecting the colony, Charles simply had too much on his plate to give any attention to the "new world" colonies. In 1637 and -38, he fought the "Bishop's Wars" with Scotland, when he tried to shove the Book of Common Prayer down the Scottish throat, while the Scots were already well on their way to creating Presbyterianism. The Scots handed Charles' military ass to him, and he had run out of money. So he was forced against his will to call Parliament back. After ten years, many of the original members had died, and the new parliament simply dissolved itself to hold new elections. The "Long Parliament" which resulted immediately began discussing "the vexed question of religion" just as their predecessor Parliament had done--without going into detail, relations with the King rapidly deteriorated, and by 1640, Parliament was at war with the King. There followed three civil wars between 1640 and 1651. Charles himself had his head chopped off in 1649.

The details of those wars doesn't matter to the concept of "Salutary Neglect." It's rather hard to fight a civil war with your own Parliament and keep track of small, seemingly unimportant colonies which were very, very far away. Massachusetts and Virginia were left to fend by themselves by default. Virginia had already learned to govern their own affairs in the early years, when their corporate masters had been unable to do so, and the colony needed to govern itself to survive. Massachusetts was basically a plot to set up a Puritan "godly republic in the wilderness" in the first place, so they arrived with the notion that they would govern themselves.

The result of three civil wars was that Oliver Cromwell, a relatively competent military commander, ended up on top, after Parliament had twice defeated the royalists, and Cromwell himself had successfully invaded Scotland. In 1651, Charles Stuart the younger, the son of the executed King, had invaded England with a Scots army, but the Scots were more interested in stealing anything which wasn't nailed down, and the military leaders of the Scots weren't particularly bright. They allowed themselves to be trapped by Parliament's army (under the command of Cromwell) at Worscester in September. Charles had no military training (his younger brother, James, Duke of York, was the soldier of the family), although he showed great courage, and managed to escape after the battle, to return to exile on the continent and wander for another decade.

Cromwell died in 1658, and his son Richard, "Tumbledown Dick," was not competent to fill his shoes. The only army left in England (the English have a tradition of not keeping standing armies) was actually at Coldstream in Scotland, the Parliamentary Guard (ancestor of the Coldstream Guards). The commander, George Monck, marched slowly south in 1660, while the Rump Parliament (those who were still left of the Long Parliament, the Short Parliament and the Barebones Parliament, all dismissed by Cromwell at one time or another) frantically sent emmisaries to him to find out what he wanted. Finally, someone tentatively suggested to Monck that the monarchy be restored (they were getting desperate, because he was getting close to London), and Monck agreed. Therefore, in the spring of 1660, Charles and James Stuart borrowed 15,000 pounds sterling from Admiral Charles Penn (an enormous sum then), and returned to England in great style, for Charles to formally become King Charles II of England. Charles Penn died shortly thereafter, so when Charles II came to pay his debt, he gave a huge strip of North America to the son, William Penn.

New brooms do tend to sweep clean. England fought three naval wars with Holland, two of them after 1660 when Charles was King. The Dutch won all of the battles, and lost both wars. At the end of the Second Dutch War (Charles and his brother James ignored the naval war Parliament had fought with the Dutch, so to them, the third naval war was the Second Dutch War), James took New Amsterdam, and landed troops who were prepared to overrun New Holland if necessary. James was not necessarily a very bright military commander, but he was extremely courageous, and very tenacious. The Dutch destroyed three English fleets, literally under James' feet on two occasions, to which James responded by building a new fleet every time.

New Amsterdam was renamed New York in honor of James, Duke of York (long, long story to account for why he was the Duke of York--the second son in line for the British throne is always the Duke of York), and James cast a critical eye on the colonies which were in North America, and which had happily been minding their own business now for almost 30 years without royal interference. One Governor was appointed for New England (Rhode Island didn't seem important, and Charles was far more tolerant than his brother, so they were allowed to keep electing their own governor). A governor was appointed for New York, New Jersey and Delaware (the Swedes colonized Delaware, but the Dutch stole it from them, and the English stole the whole shootin' match from the Dutch). William Penn and his heirs appointed Governors for Pennsylvania, which Charles had given to him. The Calvert family, in the person of Lord Baltimore, appointed Governors for Maryland. A governor was appointed for Virginia, and about half the land was given to Lord Fairfax by Charles, causing seemingly endless legal strife in the colony, and making a lot of lawyers very rich.

The Carolinas were given away piecemeal to others who whom Charles "owed" for their support of his father during the civil wars, and his close friends--Prince Rupert, George Monck, John Churchill (later Duke of Marlborough) and others were given the charter for the Governor and Company of Adventurers of England Trading into Hudson's Bay--the Hudson's Bay Company. That's a whole epic saga in itself, but we are not here concerned with the most powerful corporate body the world has ever known--were concerned merely with little America.

Phrases such as "Salutary Neglect" and "Scientific Revolution" are largely meaningless. They are a way of suggesting the whoever has coined the term can glibly describe important historical factors in a few pithy phrases. England did not neglect her colonies--civil wars tend to distract governments, and when the monarchy was finally restored, Charles and James did not wait long to put the colonies under royal control again. There was nothing revolutionary or scientific about the means of production in American in 1760 (when the French and Indian War effectively ended)--it was primitive and it was limited, and only a successful war of revolution would release an "industrial revolution" in what became the United States.

Find out what your teacher means with nonsense such as "Salutary Neglect" and "Scientific Revolution," and the puke it upon in essays and on tests, and forget about it. If you are really interested in that period of history, you've got a lot of reading to do, and you won't learn anything even approaching the "truth" with cant like salutary neglect or scientific revolution.

There were hundreds of thousands of Americans who remained loyal to the crown--and there were hundreds of thousands of reasons that this was so. You could make the case that most were city-dwellers, but you would have to ignore the entire South of the colonies, where arguably a larger proportion of the population were loyalist. You could make the case that they unprepared to be pioneers when the crown eventually shipped them off to New Brunswick and Upper Canada (modern Ontario), where thousands of them starved and died--but most Americans were unprepared to be pioneers in 1783. The ones who were prepared to be pioneers were already out there on the edge of the wilderness, and took little part in the Revolution (for those who did look up the Battle of Oriskany, the campaign of George Rogers Clark, and "the Over the Mountain Boys" and the Battle of King's Mountain--true pioneers were mostly conspicuous by their absence from the events of the Revolution). The Loyalists endured nightmare existences before they finally established themselves in the wildernesses of New Brunswick and Upper Canada--and thereafter, they took control of Canadian society and local government (outside Qu├ębec) as Canada slowly filled up with settlers--ironically, most immigrants to Canada until quite recently in her history have come from the United States. If you go to Kingston, Ontario today, you can get there by driving along Loyalist Highway, through Loyalist Township, past many historical markers celebrating the Excellence, the Worth and the Courage of the Loyalists. More important than why they remained loyal to the crown during the American Revolution is what they became, those who survived the wilderness, after England got rid of the problem they posed by dumping them in what would become Canada.

There, now aren't you sorry you asked?
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