???Was the American Revolution more a War for Independence OR a Civil War???
The American Revolution occurred from 1775 to 1783, which were the years of struggle for many Americans against Britain. The American Revolution can be summed up as a civil war. A civil war can be defined as an intensified conflict between two organized groups within the same nation. During the American Revolution the two groups were the Loyalists and the Revolutionaries.
The Loyalists were American colonists who remained loyal to Great Britain and did not fight the British with the revolutionaries. They made up one fifth of the American population and were more conservative compared to the other colonists. The Loyalists beliefs and actions made the American Revolution a true civil war.
The revolutionaries were Patriots who fought together in order to achieve independence from Britain. These two groups were both colonists, yet their opinions on the revolution were opposite. They opposed one another and had hatred for each other. The colonists also lived in constant fear and disbelief of the partisans.
The Loyalists and Patriots fought against each other during the American Revolution, which makes it more of a civil war. Many Loyalists sided and fought with the British and at one point there were more American colonists on the British side during the war. Approximately 60,000 Loyalists fought and died next to British soldiers.
The Loyalists also joined the British when they pillaged homes of the Patriots, and they helped the British out during the American Revolution by supplying the soldiers with arms and food.
There were many conflicts where the colonists fought one another on the same soil. Indians joined and fought with the Revolutionaries against other Indians and Loyalists. The continuous conflicts between the Loyalists and the revolutionaries split up many families and friends because of their strong viewpoints. As Mary Beth Norton pointed out in The American Revolution as a Civil War, Americans were attacking each other even before the first battle at Lexington and Concord. The two sides did not get along and despite the fighting, they each used loyalty oaths as weapons. The loyalty oaths were used to separate their supporters from its opponents. It seems as though the colonists during the American Revolution were so focused on taking sides because neutrality was not tolerated during those years.