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Chapter Forty-Three. Resistance to the American Revolution

Michael A. Mcdonnell

Subject History

Place Northern America » United States of America

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1700-1799

Key-Topics American War of Independence, resistance

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405116749.2003.00046.x


Resistance to the Revolution came in many forms, and from many quarters. The most obvious forms of resistance – initiated by outright and active loyalists, by thousands of Amerindians, and by enslaved Americans everywhere – was only the most direct and explicit of the resistance offered the revolutionary movement. What is often less acknowledged is the fact that there were also thousands of ordinary Americans throughout the new states who offered resistance to the means and ends of patriot leaders of the Revolution in more subtle, often passive, but no less debilitating ways than sustained, direct, and armed opposition: farmers who refused to sell supplies to the army, to pay their wartime taxes, or to take oaths of allegiance to the new states; laborers who refused to be conscripted into the army, who charged high bounties for that service, or deserted as soon as they could; whole counties or towns who ignored, evaded, or resisted new tax, conscription, or militia laws. All of these actions were seen as resistance by the patriot leadership – the actions of those who were often condemned as the “disaffected” – and all adversely affected the War for Independence and ultimately the course of the Revolution. As many forms of resistance as there were, there were almost as many reasons for that resistance. And though resistance was not always offered for clear and coherent reasons – ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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