Skip to main content
Humanities Libertexts

8.4: The Impact of War

  • Page ID
    7915
  • The Revolution changed the lives of Americans in ways that were both expected and unforeseen. The emotional and physical toll of the war affected everyone living in the colonies no matter which side they supported. The movement of troops proved detrimental to those civilians in their path because it led to the flight of refugees, epidemic disease, confiscation of supplies, plundering of property, and the possibility of physical assault. The Revolution disrupted normal patterns of life as the economy faltered, men went off to fight, women stayed home to tend farms and business, and slaves attempted to pursue their freedom. While American battlefield victories helped secure independence, the challenges on the home front called into question the meaning of that independence.

    Prior to the war, and one of the issues leading to it, was the feeling of many Americans that they were in fact British citizens living in the colonies, whereas to those in England, the Americans were something other than truly English. They were subjects of His Majesty and living in British colonies, but they were not English, not in the way that those born, raised, and living in London were English citizens. Worse, in not being truly English, the Americans were somehow less than equal. The idea of some English that Americans did not merit the same considerations as proper English would persist into the early nineteenth century and the War of 1812. For the Americans, however, the need to be accepted and treated as English ended with the Revolution. They were now Americans, more specifically Virginians, Georgians, Pennsylvanians, and so on. Whether Americans were indeed primarily Americans, or identified first with their states and then with their country, would continue as an issue until the Civil War.

    After the Revolution, just as before, American society was multi-layered with the wealthy landed gentry at the top, the landless citizens below, and slaves at the bottom. Merchants, farmers, traders, and artisans of all types formed the middle class. Government and politics before the war had been the business of the upper class. With the Revolution, people in the middle were drawn into playing a larger part in the running of their colonies, political activities, and service in the military; they were no longer willing to leave the decisions in the hands of the gentry. More than ever before, they became active participants in the political process. These changes also led to new questions about the rights of loyalists, slaves, free blacks, women, and Indians.

    8.4.1: The Cost of Supporting the Patriot Cause

    Wars also have definite impact on the economy of a country, with soldiers needing to be fed and equipped. As military technology improved over time, the cost of equipping soldiers only increased. The Continental Congress resisted taxing the citizens to pay for the war effort especially because questions about the right to tax contributed to the desire for independence. While Congress relied on the states for some assistance, lack of funds forced it to print $200 million during the war. That amount did not factor in how much the states printed and how much counterfeit money the British spread in an effort to destabilize the American financing effort. Therefore, the value of the “continental” as the currency was depreciated rather quickly. Congress also borrowed money from other nations and from wealthy patriots through interest-bearing loan certificates. In dire times, both the British and the American armies simply took what they needed from the civilian population. They entered homes to confiscate food and clothing, and even furniture they could burn to keep warm. Military leaders on both sides tried to stop such looting, but they did not always succeed.

    The cost of supporting the patriot cause did not just come in the form of public debt. Economically speaking, the war impacted the combatants and their families. The government’s decision to print money caused inflation, especially as goods became scarce in British-occupied cities. According to historian Harry M. Ward, goods imported from the West Indies like rum and sugar increased over 500 percent. Even worse, beef cost $.04 a pound in 1777 and $1.69 a pound in 1780, which amounted to about a 4,000 percent increase in the price. Because so many men left home to serve in the army, wages also went up for farm hands and laborers. However, they did not keep pace with the prices. Moreover, those serving in the military often did not receive their pay on time and sometimes not at all. Thus, all people on the home front struggled to get by, but the poor suffered most. Congress as well as the individual states experimented with wage and price controls, but that did little to improve the situation for most Americans. Frustration led to at least forty food and price riots during the conflict, led mostly by women. For example, in 1777, Boston’s women assaulted wealthy merchant Thomas Boylston for refusing to sell coffee at a fair price. To deal with the worst of the war’s economic consequences, private organizations and sometimes local governments coordinated relief efforts because the Continental Congress seemed unwilling to help.

    In 1783, when the war finally ended, the public debt was approximately $43 million and the new government had difficulty in paying all of its obligations, including those to the very men who had fought in the war. Many veterans were not fully compensated for their service. Some were promised grants of land in lieu of payment during the conflict, only to lose their grants due to mishandling, unwieldy government regulations, and speculator’s schemes. Many veterans applied for pensions in the years following the wars, tracking down former comrades to certify that they had indeed served, only to be denied their pension on a technicality, such as not proving six month’s continuous service, or for no clear reason at all. For many veterans who had suffered economically by neglecting their farms and businesses to serve, and then who were never properly paid for their trouble, being denied their rightful pensions was a painful loss—one that would cause problems for the new American government by the end of the 1780s.

    8.4.2: The Struggle of the Loyalists

    Not all people living in colonies at the time of the Declaration of Independence chose to support the patriot cause. Loyalists, or Tories as the patriots called them, accounted for about one-third of the American population (though estimates vary). Neutralists, who remained ambiguous about their allegiance, accounted for another one-third of the population. Loyalists and neutralists came from a variety of backgrounds. Some were American-born and some were European-born. They tended to live in urban centers, especially the port cities, although some people in the frontier regions supported the British. Overall, loyalists tended to be slightly older than their patriot counterparts and were often members of the Anglican Church. Loyalists in many cases saw the revolution as a threat to their personal political, social, and economic rights. Historian Robert Middlekauf suggests the loyalists were often a minority in their communities and as such were dependent on the royal government. Therefore, they opted to support that government during the war. For example, Highland Scots and Germans feared they might lose land granted by the crown if they sided with the revolutionaries. Merchants and shippers feared the economic consequences of terminating their relationship with Britain. Frontier farmers relied on the British army to protect them from the Indians.

    Generally speaking, loyalists and neutralists shared many of the same concerns about a break with Britain. Loyalists feared the consequences of break with Britain more than they disliked living under Parliament’s rules. In the years before independence, some loyalists joined in the calls for greater representation. Colonial governors, like William Franklin of New Jersey, sympathized with the residents. However, he thought an armed rebellion would not produce the desired result, and when it came he tried to keep New Jersey out of the conflict. The colonists’ concerns seemed legitimate, but to some loyalists constitutional ties and mutual interests bound them to the British Empire. Others took a more negative view of the situation; they feared the mob rule and lack of respect for the public good that would come from independence. Some neutralists shared these concerns, but for fear of their safety they did not vocalize them, or they professed to support the patriot cause even if they did not. At the same time, many pacifists objected to war on principle and chose not to fight for either side. Other neutralists simply hoped to avoid the consequences of the war and declared loyalty to one side or the other when it suited their needs.

    Loyalists helped the British cause in a variety of ways. They served in the British army and loyalist militia units to help fight the war. They engaged in crowd action such as when tenants on Livingston Manor led an uprising against their patriot landlords to distract the American forces and possibly gain titles to the land they farmed. While most of the uprisings did not accomplish their goals, they did demonstrate that not all Americans supported the patriot cause. The loyalists also helped the British procure much-needed supplies during their occupations of Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Charleston. And finally, they helped gather intelligence on American activities. For example, Ann Bates, a schoolteacher from Philadelphia, used passes from Benedict Arnold to travel into Washington’s encampments around New York City and pass information on the weapons his army possessed onto the British in 1778.

    The patriots deemed the Tories enemies of the cause, so loyalists faced potentially severe consequences for their choice. As Harry Ward observes, “war and independence…tolerated no dissent.” The Continental Congress left it up to the states to find and punish those loyalists suspected of malfeasance. Most states took quick action to expel European-born loyalists from their states. However, they found it much more difficult to deal with American-born loyalists. They created committees to maintain public safety to expose loyalists. They also required all citizens to pledge an oath of loyalty; those who refused faced disarmament, heavy bonds in exchange for their freedom, or imprisonment. Loyalists often lost their right to vote or to travel freely. Loyalists who seemed determined to promote the British cause faced even more severe consequences. States defined most overt loyalist activities, such as enlisting in or providing supplies to the British army, as treason. Punishment could be the death penalty, but states realized executing loyalists would not necessarily build support for the cause. So, more often than not, the government confiscated the property of the guilty, which also provided a source of revenue for the government. Government action tended to keep individual attacks in check, but some loyalists found themselves the victims of angry patriot attacks.

    When the war finally ended, some 80,000 loyalists opted to evacuate with the British largely because Parliament agreed to fund their relocation. Most exiles stayed in British North America, but some went to England. The terms of the Treaty of Paris suggested that the American government should treat loyalists who chose to stay fairly. The Confederation Congress resolved to return confiscated property in 1784, but many states chose not to comply. Loyalists living in the United States spent several years trying to regain their property. Only in the late 1780s did they successfully manage to do so.

    8.4.3: The Role of Women

    For American women, religious customs and social conventions made them second class citizens in their own homes. They could not vote and had little access to education, and yet, when their husbands went off to serve the Revolution, the women were left to raise their children and run their homes, farms, and in some cases their husbands’ businesses by themselves. The war led to anxiety and opportunity. For women, personal and political factors motivated their response to the conflict. On the personal level, they wanted to aid their husbands, sons, fathers, and brothers who joined in the military effort. On the political level, they hoped the war might just remedy some of the inequality they faced. Patriot women had the opportunity to make more of a conscious decision to support their cause than did loyalist women. Therefore, they tended to cope better with the emotional and physical costs of war. While both groups suffered because of the war, once a loyalist husband vocalized his feelings, his wife faced isolation, confiscation, and evacuation.

    Whether they became patriots or loyalists, women worried about the fate of their husbands, sons, fathers, and brothers who fought in the war. For most women, the departure of their loved ones left them quite lonely. Ipswich, Massachusetts resident Sarah Hodgkins wrote to her husband Joseph regularly during the war about how much she longed to see him and how she prayed he would survive the war. She could barely hide her opposition when he decided to reenlist, noting “I have got a Sweet Babe almost six months old but have got no father for it.” On the other hand, a few women saw the departure of their husbands as a blessing. Grace Growden Galloway, whose loyalist husband was in London, wrote in her journal that “Liberty of doing as I please Makes even poverty more agreeable than any time I ever spent since I married.” For several years she resisted his calls to come to London. Still other women wrote to their husbands about their behavior while away from home. Preston, Connecticut resident Lois Crary Peters heard reports of the loose morals of many Continental Army soldiers. She wrote then to her husband, Nathan, about the rumors that he “Did not Care for your wife and family at home.” He denied the accusation and she in return said the accounts had not really troubled her.

    Women also went to great lengths to support the war effort. Mary Fish Silliman was a reluctant patriot until the night she witnessed loyalists kidnap her husband and son from their home in Fairfield, Connecticut in 1779. Gold Selleck Silliman served as a brigadier general in the Connecticut militia and the loyalists took him to have a prisoner to exchange of equal rank to someone the patriots held. Mary Silliman then worked diligently to secure the release of her husband. Frustrated by the pace of negotiations, she enlisted several friends to kidnap Thomas Jones, a noted loyalist living on Long Island. After five months, the British and the Americans finally worked out terms of exchange and the men returned to their respective families.

    Not all women went to the lengths that Mary Silliman did, but women avidly supported the war effort in a variety of ways. They formed spinning societies to make homespun cloth for their families; moreover, they sewed shirts and knitted socks for members of the army. They also collected scrap metal and pewter to be turned into ammunition and they donated spare household liners to be turned into bandages. Women also supported fund drives. The patriot women of Philadelphia, for instance, canvassed door-to-door to raise money to make the lives of the soldiers better. All told, they turned over about $7,500 in specie (coin money) to General Washington. The coordinator of the drive, Esther DeBerdt Reed, requested that the funds be used supplement the soldiers’ pay. Worried that the supplement would make soldiers aware of how woefully underpaid they were, Washington put the money toward purchasing new shirts. Women in other cities quickly followed suit in an attempt to show support for the patriot cause.

    In spite of their trepidation about being left to fend for themselves, many women found they were more than capable in running their husbands’ farms and businesses while also carrying for their children. The effort of course was never easy, but not only did they persevere, many prospered. Meanwhile, their husbands continued to direct their efforts; in time, however, most women found the advice more of a hindrance than a help. When her husband Ralph became trapped in Boston, Elizabeth Murray Smith Inman of Cambridge set about managing the farm, and she made a tidy profit when the crop of hay came in. When the patriots interred her pacifist husband Thomas in Virginia, Sally Logan Fisher of Philadelphia at first despaired about how she would manage without him. Increasingly though, her diary entries suggested a renewed spirit in her ability to support her family. When her husband Josiah went to Philadelphia to serve in the Continental Congress, Mary Bartlett worried she would not be up to the task of maintaining the family business. However, within a couple of years she began to write him of “our business,” not “his business,” showing how the war blurred the line between the public and private spheres.

    After the war was over and the men returned home, they expected their wives to resume their subservient past. Women attempted to resist such efforts, but found little support for their rights inside or outside of the home. For many political leaders, women’s contributions to the war actually reinforced the idea that a women’s place was in the private sphere caring for the family. Still, in the 1780s, women gained some additional social and legal rights. As the Church of England lost control in many of the states, divorce proceedings fell into the realm of civil authorities instead of religious authorities. While it was by no means simple to obtain a divorce, it became easier. Most states retained the practice of coverture, whereby the husband retained legal control over the person, property, and choices of his wife. Single women and widows gained greater property rights, but that did not in most cases lead to the political rights that property conferred (such as the right to vote). Discussion of the role of women during and after the war led to small improvements in the status of women. In the postwar years, many men and women subscribed to the concept of “Republican motherhood.” Women had a public duty to educate their children to become virtuous citizens and as such they needed to have more education to successfully mold good Americans.

    8.4.4: The Future of Slavery

    The ideas of liberty and equality which helped to ignite the Revolution also brought to mind questions of liberty and equality for blacks—both slave and free. For slaves, the fight for independence raised questions about their future because in a republic based on the premise “all men are created equal,” many people wondered whether slavery should continue to exist. Many slaves looked to use the war to secure their own freedom. For free blacks, questions about slavery also played a role in their wartime experience. Most recognized that if states maintained the institution of slavery even though they had their freedom, they would not be able to achieve equality. In 1775, Benjamin Franklin had founded the first abolitionist society in America, the Society for the Relief of Free Negroes Unlawfully Held in Bondage. After that, the abolitionist ideas spread to other states. During and after the war, many northern states embraced gradual emancipation; however, most southern states renewed their commitment to the use of race-based slavery.

    Slavery had been part of American life since the seventeenth century when the first Africans arrive in Jamestown in 1619. For years it existed alongside indentured servitude as the primary mode of labor on tobacco and rice plantations in the South. However, in the North people also purchased slaves to work in their fields and homes. In 1760, somewhere around 350,000 blacks were enslaved. Around 145,000 lived in Virginia and Maryland, 40,000 lived in South Carolina and Georgia, and the rest lived in the northern colonies, especially New York and New Jersey. Thus, slavery at the time of the American Revolution was a national institution, not a southern institution. While only one-quarter of the population owned slaves, slavery became a key component of the successful American economy. Slaveholders found it to be the most cost-effective form of labor. At the same time, many non-slaveholders, including merchants, ship builders, and their employees, benefited from the side effects of the international slave trade.

    Many slaves grudgingly accepted their life of servitude while also looking for ways to gain their freedom. Some liberated themselves by running away, but others were emancipated by their owners. The free black community grew slowly in the prewar years; however, by virtue of their freedom they became speakers of their race and increasingly called for widespread emancipation. As the American colonists increasingly vocalized a desire to be free from their imperial masters, many slaves used similar rhetoric to call for emancipation. In 1773, Felix, a Boston slave, sent Lieutenant Governor Thomas Hutchinson a petition on behalf of his fellow slaves asking for help to redress “their unhappy state” and trusting in the governor’s “wisdom, justice, and goodness” to help them. Other such petitions followed and became increasingly forceful in their requests for an end to slavery.

    Some white colonists also began to speak out against slavery before the Revolution, most notably among the Quaker communities in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Quakers John Woolman and Anthony Benezet argued that the sin of slavery was a sign that the Friends had become negligent of their faith. They called on the Quakers to condemn the slave trade and free their slaves. In time, their sentiments spread beyond the Quaker community. While ministers from other faiths continued to condemn slavery as a sin, James Otis linked the cause of independence with the cause of emancipation, noting the irony of pursing one and not the other. As his argument spread, several Massachusetts towns instructed their delegates to the colonial legislature to pass a law banning the importation of slaves. Elsewhere in the colonies, talk of ending slavery ensued; Arthur Lee, son of a prominent Virginia slaveholder, noted “freedom is unquestionably the birth-right of all mankind, of Africans as well as Europeans.” Of course, not all colonists supported such a move; fellow southerners widely denounced Lee’s essay.

    When the revolution began, blacks—slave and free—looked for opportunities to use the conflict to gain their freedom. After Lord Dunmore’s Proclamation in 1775, southern slaves sought to take advantage of the offer to fight for the British and receive their freedom. Only about 300 slaves managed to respond because Virginia slaveholders made it quite difficult for slaves to escape. Later, General Clinton made a similar request, calling blacks to defend the crown in exchange for their freedom. Over the course of the war, blacks served in British units and provided needed support services; however, exact numbers have been hard to come by. Colonel Tye, a runaway, led a band of black loyalists in terrorizing the New York and New Jersey patriots in 1778 and 1779. Boston Kin managed to escape twice, first from his master and then from a band of loyalists who tried to sell him back into slavery, in order to serve the British. Other slaves, especially women, took advantage of the chaos brought on by the war to flee to the British in hopes of gaining their freedom.

    Northern slaves and free blacks more often than not enlisted in the Continental Army; throughout the course of the war, over 5,000 served the patriot cause. More might have served, but the Continental Congress succumbed to pressure from southern representatives to bar slaves from service so the government would not have to compensate their owners. In spite of the obstacles, free blacks and some slaves continued to enlist. The promise of the Declaration of Independence inspired them to join in the battle for American freedom, which they hoped would translate into personal freedom. Moreover, they provided much-needed manpower. Rhode Island, so desperate for soldiers, recruited an all-black regiment, as did Massachusetts and Connecticut; the other states integrated blacks into regular units. During the course of the war, black soldiers served with distinction: Peter Salem, Salem Poor, and Prince Whipple all won praise for their contribution to the campaign in Massachusetts in 1775.

    Screenshot (234).png
    Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\): Salem Poor Stamp | Commemorating Black Patriots–Salem Poor was one of the more than 5,000 blacks who joined in the patriot cause during the American Revolution. In 1975, the United States Postal Service honored his service as part of their Gallant Soldier series. Author: U.S. Postal Service Source: Wikimedia Commons

    During and after the war, many Americans, especially in the North, embraced emancipation and worked to end slavery within their borders. As Robert Middlekauf suggests, “the irony of white Americans claiming liberty while they held slaves did not escape the revolutionary generation.” Pennsylvania and Vermont banned slavery in their state constitutions in the 1770s. Massachusetts and New Hampshire significantly curtailed slavery through court action. Connecticut and Rhode Island passed laws providing for gradual emancipation in the early 1780s; New York and New Jersey also adopted policies of gradual emancipation but not until the late 1790s. Southerners, for a variety of reasons, resisted the shift toward statewide emancipation, though some slaveholders did free their slaves on an individual basis. However, by the early 1800s the practice of manumission fell out of use. The failure to end slavery on the national level caused slavery to become a southern phenomenon sometimes called the “peculiar institution” and the number of slaves there increased dramatically after the invention of the cotton gin in the 1790s. Meanwhile, the free black population continued to grow, but they faced continued prejudice and discrimination. For blacks— slave or free—the revolution failed to live up to their expectations.

    8.4.5: Indians and the American Revolution

    Throughout the colonies and the American frontier, Indians debated foreign policy, weighed their options, and chose sides in the American Revolution. Indian participation in colonial wars was certainly not a new development. Many of the native peoples of North America had participated in colonial wars, such as Queen Anne’s and King William’s Wars; the French and Indian War was the most important example of native interests in European colonial conflicts.

    At the outset of the American Revolution, many tribes chose to remain neutral in the conflict. Unlike the French and Indian War and other wars of the previous hundred years, this war did not concern many nations. The nascent American government fully supported this neutrality. The Second Continental Congress wrote to the Iroquois Confederacy on the matter, stating,

    We desire that you will hear and receive what we have now told you, and that you will open a good ear and listen to what we are now going to say. This is a family quarrel between us and old England. You Indians are not concerned in it. We don’t wish you to take up the hatchet against the King’s Troops. We desire you to remain at home, and not join either side, but keep the hatchet buried deep.

    Although the Second Continental Congress claimed that the war did not concern native people, as the conflict escalated, many tribes quickly concluded that there was much at stake for the Indian population. From a native point of view, the Revolution was a contest for Indian lands. Protecting and securing lands against encroaching American settlement inspired many, both as individuals and as tribes, to abandon neutrality and choose a side in the fight. For the majority of Indians, fighting for the British cause made the most sense. The British supported the Proclamation Line of 1763. Although not meant to be a permanent measure, it provided some degree of security against expansion. Although most groups supported the British, some native peoples did side with the Americans. Indian support for the American cause was strongest in New England, where the populations had lived closely with their colonial neighbors for the longest period of time.

    Although both the Americans and the British initially desired for Indians to remain neutral, once the war broke out, each side abandoned this policy and cultivated native allies. The powerful Iroquois Confederacy was one of the most important potential native alliances. For more than one hundred years, the Iroquois had been a major political force in the Northeast. In 1775, the Iroquois Confederacy declared itself to be neutral in the war. However, the decision was not unanimous. Each of the six nations had freedom in determining its individual war policy. In a series of meetings from 1776 to 1777, the Iroquois nations debated their involvement in the American Revolution. Mohawk Joseph Brandt (Thayenadanega) was a key figure who argued for forming an alliance with the British. Brandt had been educated at a Christian Indian school and worked as a translator for the British. He helped to bring four of the six Iroquois nations into an alliance with the British, these four being the Mohawk, Cayuga, Seneca, and Onondoga. The remaining two nations, the Oneida and Tuscarora, allied with the Americans in the war. Ultimately, the Iroquois Confederacy underwent a major political split over the issue of the American Revolution.

    Brandt and the British-allied Iroquois nations conducted a series of successful campaigns against American frontier settlements in the Mohawk Valley, devastating many villages. In retaliation, Washington ordered General John Sullivan to lead an expedition into Iroquois lands with the objective of ending frontier warfare in the region and capturing Fort Niagara. In the summer of 1779, Sullivan’s forces entered the Mohawk Valley. The campaign saw only one major battle, which the American forces decisively won; however, they ultimately failed to capture Fort Niagara. The major effect of the campaign was Sullivan’s scorched earth policy, which resulted in the total destruction of dozens of Iroquois villages. Moreover, rather than quelling frontier war and Iroquois involvement, Sullivan’s expedition against Iroquois lands inspired many Oneida and Tuscarora to reconsider their American alliance and switch to fighting for the British.

    In the South, the Creek, Chickasaw, and Choctaw fought with the British; the Catawba fought on the American side. Cherokee elders favored neutrality in the war, but the younger generations, having seen tremendous land loss over the course of their lives, tended to favor allying with the British in an attempt to prevent further encroachment. The most important leader of the faction of younger Cherokee was Dragging Canoe (ᏥᏳ ᎦᏅᏏᏂ), son of famed warrior Attakullakulla. In the summer of 1776, Dragging Canoe led a series of successful raids in Eastern Tennessee and soon broadened the scope of the frontier battles to Kentucky, Virginia, Georgia, and North Carolina. The colonial forces retaliated by taking the war into Cherokee lands, destroying more than fifty towns, killing hundreds and selling hundreds more Cherokee into slavery. The conflict continued throughout the American Revolution and for ten more years after the war’s end; for this reason, the Cherokee war within and beyond the American Revolution is referred to as the Chickamauga Wars (1776-1794).

    8.4.6: Before You Move On...

    Key Concepts

    The American Revolution impacted the lives of Americans in more ways than simply a political independence from Great Britain. Americans had come to think of themselves in new ways and suffered new and unexpected economic hardships. While the Continental Congress struggled to meet their financial obligations, the soldiers and their families faced rampant inflation and constant shortages of goods; the end of the war brought little relief from their economic suffering. Americans who did not support the patriot cause, the loyalists or Tories, chose to aid the British war effort in a variety of ways. They often suffered physical and economic consequences at the hands of the patriot governments in their communities.

    The lofty rhetoric of the Declaration of Independence also inspired many women to fight for greater political and economic rights and blacks to fight for an end to slavery and real equality. Women found themselves more than capable of managing their families’ farms and businesses in the absence of their husbands and fathers. When the war came to an end, they hoped to retain some of that economic freedom and expand their political rights. However, most men refused to listen to their calls. Meanwhile, blacks—slave and free—sought to use the revolution to end bondage and inequality. Southern slaves flocked to the loyalist cause in hopes of securing freedom; northern slaves and free blacks, on the other hand, tended to support the patriot cause. While the war led to the end of slavery, on a gradual basis, in the northern states, the same was not true in the southern states, where it continued to grow.

    The presence of Indians in North America complicated alliances during the American Revolutionary War. Although both the colonists and the British would have preferred that the tribes remain neutral, many did not. Neutrality was declared by the Iroquois Confederacy, but the decision was not unanimous and individual tribes proceeded to create alliances, mostly with the British. In the South, the majority of the tribes that became involved sided with the British; only the Catawba of North Carolina fought on the side of the Americans. And while most Cherokee elders favored neutrality, younger tribal members rallied against the colonials and wreaked havoc on Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Georgia.

    Test Yourself

    Exercise \(\PageIndex{1}\)

    Revolutionary war soldiers were well rewarded for their service.

    a. True

    b. False

    Answer

    b

    Exercise \(\PageIndex{2}\)

    Many women found themselves incapable of handling the burdens of war when their husbands and fathers went off to fight.

    a. True

    b. False

    Answer

    b

    Exercise \(\PageIndex{3}\)

    Benjamin Franklin established the first abolitionist society in America.

    a. True

    b. False

    Answer

    a

    Exercise \(\PageIndex{4}\)

    Most Indian tribes and nations supported the British because they feared that an American victory would mean a greater loss of land through expansion.

    a. True

    b. False

    Answer

    a

    Exercise \(\PageIndex{5}\)

    All of the tribes in the Iroquois Confederacy maintained neutrality during the Revolutionary War.

    a. True

    b. False

    Answer

    b

    • Was this article helpful?