Life in the Thirteen Colonies

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Which of the thirteen colonies were most pro-British?

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The exact number of loyalists in the colonies during the Revolutionary War (1775–1783) is not certain. According to John Adams, about one third of the Americans were loyalists. Many of them held office under the crown or were wealthy merchants, but they were not limited to any particular social class or national background. Many famous families were divided; Benjamin Franklin's son remained loyal to London and was imprisoned.

Loyalists did not constitute a majority in any of the colonies. They were most numerous in the South, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York. Loyalists were probably strongest in New York and weakest in New England. More than 20,000 fought for the British and over 100,000 fled abroad. The loyalists were persecuted, and their lands were often confiscated. After the war, the United States was supposed to compensate them for their lost property, but this rarely happened. Many loyalists settled in Canada.

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