Choosing Sides: Loyalists in Revolutionary America

Choosing Sides: Loyalists in Revolutionary America

by Ruma Chopra
     
 

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Choosing Sides: Loyalists in Revolutionary America shows us that America’s original colonies were not nearly as united behind the concept of forming free, independent states as our society’s collective memory would have us believe. There were, in fact, numerous colonists, slaves, and Native Americans who counted themselves among the Loyalists: those who… See more details below

Overview

Choosing Sides: Loyalists in Revolutionary America shows us that America’s original colonies were not nearly as united behind the concept of forming free, independent states as our society’s collective memory would have us believe. There were, in fact, numerous colonists, slaves, and Native Americans who counted themselves among the Loyalists: those who never wanted to sever ties with the English crown and who viewed revolution as an unnatural and unlawful mistake.

Editorial Reviews

Sheila L. Skemp
Chopra’s anthology casts a wide net, expanding our understanding of the many “loyalist minds” and loyalist experiences that characterized those men and women who chose Empire over independence. The documents she has selected remind us that loyalists came from all classes, races, and ethnicities. They included people who resided in Canada, the Caribbean, and the area that became the United States. They made their choices based on ideology as well as on pragmatic, on-the-ground realities. Students will enjoy listening to the voices from the past, sharing in the hopes and fears of those who could not bring themselves to sever their relationships with an Empire they loved.
Ed Countryman
Ruma Chopra’s lively introduction and accompanying documents present Loyalism in all its complexity, adding to the case that the American Revolution was genuinely and in some ways tragically revolutionary. It was a time to choose, and she shows loyalists of all sorts, elite and plebeian, white, black, and native, male and female, making their choices and living with the consequences. Like their patriot foes, her loyalists reveal the many faces of revolutionary America. Chopra makes advanced loyalist scholarship, including her own, understandable for students and general readers.
CHOICE
This insightful work chronicles the lives of colonists loyal to Great Britain during the American Revolution. The text consists of a 63-page introduction and a main body of approximately 80 primary sources arranged topically in ten chapters. In the impressive introduction with generous endnotes, historian Chopra situates loyalists across a palette of categories, including gender, race, and religion. She also indicates how practical reasons, such as one's proximity to military force, could trump ideology when choosing sides. The introduction could stand alone as a scholarly work; however, the subsequent section of well-organized primary sources complements it. This reviewer has only two minor negative criticisms. First, although Chopra cites each primary source, many citations are to a published version, not to the original manuscript. Second, in spite of the author's care in arguing that denominational affiliation was some indicator of one's loyalty, the Roman Catholic minority is largely absent from her calculus. Overall, this is a nuanced survey on the often-overlooked topic of loyalty to Britain, and a valuable addition to any research library that collects titles on Revolutionary America. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through researchers/faculty.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781442205734
Publisher:
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date:
06/07/2013
Series:
American Controversies
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
236
Sales rank:
456,885
File size:
1 MB

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