Which groups of people tended to be loyalists, or British sympathizers, during the American Revolution?

Expert Answers
jdkotliar eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Quakers, many Germans (because of the German connection of the House of Hanover to which George III belonged(although ethnic Germans fought on both sides of the revolution), recent Scotish immigrants tended to be Loyalists, as opposed to earlier Scots and Scots-irish immigrants who tended to be rebels (Presbyterian churches were often targeted by the British), more Blacks seeking freedom from slavery joined the Loyalist cause than the Patriot cause, there was strong Loyalist sentiments in southern colonies such as North and South Carolina and strong loyalist sentiment in parts of New York , New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Perhaps as many as 20% of the population were active loyalists.  Vicious civil war existed between Loyalist and Patriot partisans in North and South Carolina the fighting continuing after Yorktown until peace in 1783.  This involved the torture, rape, murder and robbery of civilians by partisans of both sides.

People switched sides during the war, and a large segment of the population wanted to stay out of the struggle as much as they could.  Some captured British soldiers joined the Rebels, while some captured rebels joined the Loyalist cause to avoid or get out of the horrible prison ships.  The various fortunes of the Rebels and British forces in the war effected the loyalties, which is typical of civil wars.