Growing up, we are taught that the Revolutionary war was a necessary war with unmistakable objectives and was fervently fought by all Americans in an effort to rise up against the tyranny of British rule. We are taught to view the war as a Revolution, a fight for freedom, liberty and the right to own property, a fight that would, in the end, be beneficial to every American. In reality, the American Revolution was not supported or condoned by all American colonists, as we are sometimes led to believe. .
Although, there are no accurate numbers of how many American colonists remained "loyal" to the British during the American Revolution, it is indisputable that support for the war was far from universal. John Adams is quoted as saying that a "full one third were adverse to the Revolution an opposite one third conceived a hatred of the English the middle one third were rather luke-warm." (Adams, 110).
Due to these opposing forces within the colonies, the American "Revolution" could be more accurately described as a civil war, pitting neighbor against neighbor in a brutal struggle to define the economy and politics of new nation. Even after the war, it took years to settle the old hatreds and to have once again a newly independent nation united.
All throughout the late 17th and 18th centuries, people flocked to "the new world" for a variety of reasons. Some to escape religious persecution, some to flee an oppressive government, but most had hopes of owning their own land and becoming wealthy farmers or merchants. Regardless of the individual reasons for the journey, it was generally accepted that America was "a land of opportunity". .
As relations with Britain were beginning to falter towards the end of the 18th century, largely due to heavy taxation and imposing new governments, the country began to split. Though the Tories and Whigs within America wanted collectively wanted reconciliation, they could not agree on a solution.