Liam Riordan

in Atlantic History

ISBN: 9780199730414
Published online May 2011 | | DOI:

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Loyalism as explored here refers to the ideologies, experiences, actions, and legacies of those who opposed the American Revolution. As a subject framed in large part by negation, it continues to elude definitive scholarly treatment, and this difficulty has been compounded by the searing partisanship of the Revolution, the dominant nationalist perspectives stimulated by that conflict, and, above all, by the ongoing force of nationalism in shaping our understanding of the past. Nation-centered historical interpretations have yielded three basic views of loyalists, each of which treats them inadequately, whether disparaged through condescension or lack of attention by US scholars, viewed as oddly embarrassing outsiders in the British tradition, or even when championed as the best and brightest founders of English Canada. Recent Atlantic scholarship on the Revolutionary world has tended to explore transnational connections among radicals, which has limited the recognition of loyalism as an equally innovative force with deep Atlantic sources and influence. Thus, loyalism is particularly ripe for reassessment from an Atlantic perspective, but this revisionist scholarship is still at an early stage of development. As a result, this bibliography includes some citations to work that lacks a strong Atlantic orientation but that contributes to the necessary foundation for future research. For example, studies that focus on maritime Canada, Upper Canada, the Floridas, the Bahamas, and the West Indies merit attention, since developments in these places are crucial to the maturation of Atlantic loyalist scholarship, which must broaden its view beyond the thirteen colonies that became the United States. Similarly, attention to loyalism and Native Americans, while not necessarily at the center of Atlantic work, is also necessary for a balanced and meaningful understanding of loyalism. While there is obviously a deep Anglo-American tradition for assessing loyalism as a conservative and dependent relationship between the metropolitan center and colonial periphery, new Atlantic scholarship is more multinational, stresses dynamic aspects of loyalism, and includes close attention to Canadian developments and the loyalism of people of African descent.

Article.  13354 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas ; European History ; African History ; History ; Regional and National History

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