Episode 123: Revolutionary Allegiances

In December 1773, the Cape Cod Tea Crisis revealed that the people of “radical” Massachusetts were far from united in their support for the American Revolution. An observation that leads us to wonder: How many Americans supported the Patriot cause?

In this episode we speak with four scholars to explore the complexities of political allegiance during the American Revolution.

About the Series

The mission of episodes in the Doing History: To the Revolution series is to ask not just “what is the history of the American Revolution?” but “what are the histories of the American Revolution?”

Episodes in this series will air beginning in Fall 2017.

The Doing History series is part of a partnership between Ben Franklin’s World and the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture.

Be sure to check out Doing History season 1: Doing History: How Historians Work.

About the Show

Ben Franklin’s World is a podcast about early American history.

It is a show for people who love history and for those who want to know more about the historical people and events that have impacted and shaped our present-day world.

Each episode features a conversation with a historian who helps us shed light on important people and events in early American history.

Episode Summary

In this episode, we speak with Sara Georgini, Maya Jasanoff, Vincent Carretta, and Kathleen DuVal to explore the complexities of political allegiance during the American Revolution.

During our exploration, these scholars reveal how contemporaries like John Adams viewed the American Revolution and what they had to say about patriots and loyalists; Why it’s so hard for us to know how many people supported the Revolution; And what the American Revolution meant for Native Americans and people of African descent and their political allegiances.

What You’ll Discover

  • John Adams and how he experienced the American Revolution
  • Adams’ view on the American Revolution
  • John and Abigail Adams’ views on Loyalists and loyalist ideology
  • The story of John Adams and Jonathan Sewell
  • Adams’ idea of dividing loyalties during the American Revolution into thirds
  • American Loyalists and why they chose to remain to Great Britain
  • Degrees of loyalist loyalty
  • Numbers of loyalists during the American Revolution
  • Whether we should look upon the Revolution as a civil war
  • Why loyalists left the United States after the war
  • How many loyalists left the United States after the war
  • What it was like for loyalists to leave and where they resettled
  • Experiences of African and African American loyalists
  • Why Americans have had a hard time reckoning with the Revolution’s loyalist past
  • Slavery as a cause of the American Revolution
  • Somerset vs. Stewart (1772)
  • Phillis Wheatley
  • Wheatley’s poems to the Earl of Dartmouth and George Washington
  • Phillis Wheatley’s revolutionary politics
  • Wheatley’s impact on the Revolution
  • Patriot reaction to people of African descent’s participation in the Revolution
  • The American Revolution in the Gulf Coast
  • Where Native Americans fit within colonial North America
  • Gulf Coast Native Americans’ views on the American Revolution
  • Reasons some native peoples wanted to join the fight against American independence
  • Why the British included the Gulf Coast in their military strategy


Links to People, Places, and Publications

Partner Links

Complementary Episodes


Questions, Comments, Suggestions

Do you have a question, comment, or suggestion?

Get in Touch! Send me an e-mail, tweet, or leave a comment.



Enjoy the Podcast?

Why Not Subscribe?

Listen on Apple Podcasts | Listen on Google Podcasts | Listen to Stitcher


Ratings & Reviews

If you enjoy this podcast, please give it a rating and review.

Positive ratings and reviews help bring Ben Franklin's World to the attention of other history lovers who may not be aware of our show

Click here to rate & review on iTunes | Click here to rate & review on Stitcher

More from this show