Loyalists were colonists who decided it was best to side with their forebears, the British Empire, during the American Revolution. The Revolution was very much a civil war, as it forced people to choose a side - and that divided families. Apparently, loyalists believed it was morally wrong to betray the crown, sensing a need to remain loyal to the kingdom. While not wishing for war and hoping for a peaceful reconciliation to the conflict, loyalists stuck to the view that siding with the British was a "good option". Loyalists saw themselves as American (like the colonists), but first and foremost, they viewed themselves as British. .
The loyalists were given many nicknames by the colonists and viewed as traitors. Loyalists were known as tories", royalists" and kings men. In America today, we see the loyalists as the "bad guys". That's only because the patriots won the war. Our education system teaches us that the British were villains and the colonists were the heroes. What most students aren't taught is that, while in combat, the British would not shoot the colonists in the back and treated prisoners with respect and in a humane manner. The American version of the story sums up is the loyalists as traitors who betrayed their American brothers to the British Empire. But it's important to see the loyalist perspective. - that originally, all colonists were founded by the British, so were British citizens. The colonists who were fighting the British were actually rebels acting in disobedience and betraying the King of England.
By some estimates, one in five colonists were actively loyalist, although many people attempted to remain impartial. In our education system, we're taught that the patriots took the high ground. This isn't true. The colonist who stood his ground as a loyalist would have been a brave person, considering the fact that most people in your community would have been anti-British.