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This article concerns the Patriots in the American Revolution. For other uses, see Patriot .

Patriots (also known as Americans, Whigs, Revolutionaries, Congress-Men or Rebels) was the name the colonists of the Britishmarker Thirteen United Colonies, who rebelled against British control during the American Revolution, called themselves. It was their leading figures who, in July 1776, declared the United States of Americamarker an independent nation. Their rebellion was based on the political philosophy of republicanism, as expressed by pamphleteers such as Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, and Thomas Paine.

They called themselves Whigs after 1768, identifying with members of the British Whig Party, i.e., Radical Whigs and Patriot Whigs, who favored similar colonial policies.

As a group, Patriots comprised men and women representing the full array of social, economic, ethnic and racial backgrounds. They included college students like Alexander Hamilton, planters like Thomas Jefferson, merchants like Alexander McDougall, and plain farmers like Daniel Shays and Joseph Plumb Martin.

Those colonists who remained loyal to the British Crown called themselves Loyalists or "Tories" or "King's men." In addition, many people remained neutral or said nothing examples of this were some merchants, who did not want to lose trade ties with the British.

Many Patriots were active before 1775 in groups such as the Sons of Liberty. The most prominent leaders of the Patriots are referred to today by Americans as the Founding Fathers of the United States.

About the Patriots

The Patriots came from many different backgrounds. Among the most active of the Patriots group were highly educated and fairly wealthy individuals. However, without the support of the ordinary men and women, such as farmers, lawyers, mechanics, seamstresses, homemakers, shopkeepers, and ministers, the struggle for independence would have failed.

No taxation without representation

Americans rejected taxes not imposed by their own legislatures. "No taxation without representation!" was their slogan--referring to the lack of representation in the British parliament. The British countered there was "virtual representation," that is, all members of Parliament represented the interests of all the citizens of the British Empire.

Though Patriots declared that they were loyal to the king, they believed that the assemblies should control issues relating just to the colonies. They should be able to run themselves. In fact, they had been running themselves after the period of "salutary neglect" before the French and Indian War. Some radical Patriots tarred and feathered tax collectors and customs officers, making those positions dangerous, especially in New Englandmarker, where there were the most Patriots.

Because the New England economy was based upon trade, these new British taxes affected their lives and economy the most.

List of prominent Patriots

Most of the individuals listed below served the American Revolution in multiple capacities.

Statesmen and office holders

Pamphleteers and activists

Military officers

See also


  • Ellis, Joseph J. . Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation (2002), Pulitzer Prize
  • Kann, Mark E.; The Gendering of American Politics: Founding Mothers, Founding Fathers, and Political Patriarchy, (1999) online version
  • Middlekauff, Robert; The Glorious Cause: The American Revolution, 1763-1789 (2005) online version
  • Miller, John C. Origins of the American Revolution. (1943) online version
  • Miller, John C. Triumph of Freedom, 1775-1783, (1948) online version
  • Previdi, Robert; "Vindicating the Founders: Race, Sex, Class, and Justice in the Origins of America," Presidential Studies Quarterly, Vol. 29, 1999
  • Raphael, Ray. A People's History of the American Revolution: How Common People Shaped the Fight for Independence (2002)
  • Roberts, Cokie. Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised Our Nation (2005)


  1. Benjamin H. Irvin, "Tar and Feathers in Revolutionary America," (2003) online edition

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