What advantages did the patriot recruitment have ?
What challenges did the patriot recruitment have to face?
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By the time the shooting war with Great Britain started, the colonial cause was much strengthened simply because they fought a defensive war. If people had been on the fence about taking on the British Empire, once they or their neighbors had been attacked or killed colonial motivation to fight would have peaked. Those colonials who were indifferent or pro-British would have swung to the anti-British side. The most famous case is of Benjamin Franklin. Although not involved in the actual fight, he remained pro-British until 1774, and only went against the empire after he was publicly humiliated in London after attempting to resolve the crisis brought on by the Boston Tea Party and the closing of the port of Boston.
The reverse case applied to the British -- most of those doing the fighting were sent from overseas, where in the pay of a professional army, and fought because they were required to, not because all that they cherished was at stake. In fact, to maintain its global empire, Britain, like all empires, had to recruit soldiers from wherever they could be had -- so Germans (Hessians) were fighting in the Mid-Atlantic colonies. Clearly they did not have the same motivation as the colonials.
It seems that a very strong advantage to the recruitment of the Patriots was the tapping into Colonial discontent. The level of frustration that was felt regarding England was quite high. Patriotic subcultures such as the Sons of Liberty had brought a "grass roots" mobilization to the Patriots. The resentment felt about the violation of Colonial economic and political rights was real and quite powerful in recruiting individuals to fight for the Patriot side. I would suggest that the challenges faced at the outset of the war was the fact that the British army and navy were considerably more experienced than the Colonists, who did not have a formal army and did not have any of the financial resources of the British.
The major advantage that Patriot recruitment had was the fact that Patriots would be more motivated to fight than would British soldiers. They would have felt (perhaps) that they were fighting for their own freedom and for the well-being of their own families and communities.
The challenges were many as well. Perhaps the two most important ones were:
- The very real prospect of losing and getting killed in the process. It's not clear that the Patriots were likely to win at the beginning of the war.
- Uncertainty of getting paid or of being properly equipped. The Patriots didn't have a lot of money.
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