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Difference between Patriots and Loyalists

Difference between Patriots and Loyalists

During the Revolutionary War, there were two main groups that supported the colonists in their fight against Britain: Patriots and Loyalists. While the Patriots wanted independence from Britain, the Loyalists wanted to remain loyal to the king. This difference in opinion caused a lot of conflict between the two groups and led to the American Revolution. Today, we still use these terms to describe people who support different sides of an issue. But what do they really mean? Let’s take a closer look at both groups and see what set them apart.

What is Patriots?

Patriots were American colonists who rebelled against British rule during the American Revolution (1775-83). Patriots fought for independence, liberty, and self-government.

  • They believed that the American colonies should be free from British rule and that the colonists had the right to govern themselves. Patriots also believed in natural rights, which are the rights that all people have by nature, such as the right to life, liberty, and property.
  • Many Patriots were also Patriots in the American War of Independencemen who fought in the Continental Army or in state militias during the war.
  • Patriots came from all walks of life and included both men and women, rich and poor, farmers and merchants, artisans, and lawyers. Some Patriots were even slave owners.

Patriots in the American War of Independence fought for a new nation founded on the principles of liberty, equality, and self-government. These principles would later be enshrined in the Constitution of the United States, which is still the supreme law of the land today.

What are Loyalists?

  • Loyalists were American colonists who were loyalists during the American Revolutionary War. Many Loyalists actively opposed the Revolution, mostly because they didn’t want to break away from Britain.
  • They felt a strong connection to the British Crown and believed that the British government would protect their rights as citizens. Some Loyalists also feared that the new American government would be unstable and wouldn’t be able to protect their property or their families.
  • Many Loyalists fled to Canada or other parts of the British Empire during the war, and after the war, some Loyalists were given land in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Today, there are still people in the United States who identify as Loyalists or Tories.

Difference between Patriots and Loyalists

Patriots and Loyalists were people who held opposing views about the American Revolution.

  • Patriots believed that the thirteen colonies should become independent from British rule, while Loyalists believed that the colonies should remain part of the British Empire.
  • Patriots tended to be from the middle and lower classes, while Loyalists were generally from the upper class. Patriots also tended to be more religious than Loyalists.
  • One of the most famous Patriots was George Washington, while one of the most famous Loyalists was King George III.

The conflict between Patriots and Loyalists led to the American Revolution, which resulted in the independence of the United States.


The patriot believes in the principles of the country and supports it even when they don’t always agree with how things are run. They want to see their country succeed. Loyalists, on the other hand, support the king or queen no matter what. They believe that their ruler is ordained by God and must be followed without question. While there may be some overlap (a patriot could also be a loyalist), for the most part, these two groups have very different beliefs.

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