Why did the Boston Loyalists feel that they had to go with the British to Canada?

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enotechris | College Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

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After the Battle of Bunker Hill on June 17, 1775, George III declared the American Colonies in a state of rebellion, and blockaded not only the port of Boston but the entire colonial coast, exacerbating an already difficult economic condition by completely halting trade. For the next several months, Boston depopulated as starvation among colonists increased.  Meanwhile, the "Green Mountain Boys" under Ethan Allen had seized the British forts at Ticonderoga and Crown Point on Lake Champlain.  Miraculously, the colonists were able to blaze a new road and move all the cannon from these forts from upstate New York to Boston.  In one of his first major campaigns as commander of the Continental Army, George Washington then used this cannon at Dorchester Heights, which then overlooked Boston Harbor, and threatened to destroy the British fleet at anchor. The British wisely withdrew from Boston on March 17, 1776 (still celebrated as "Evacuation Day" in Boston) and sailed to Halifax, Nova Scotia with about 1000 civilian British Loyalists.  These Loyalists had been targeted by the Colonists with increasing violence over time as the political situation deteriorated; both sides had civilians killed in prior struggles.  With the British military leaving, they would have been at the mercy of the Colonists who would have killed them if given the chance. Today there are families with descendants in both cities, as the conflict during the American Revolution had split families, as the Civil War was to do nearly 100 years later.

Source Note: Rise of the American Nation, Todd / Curti, pg. 119, 1972.

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