20+ Differences between Patriots vs. Loyalists (Explained)

The two factions that opposed (and engaged in combat) one another during the American independence struggle are referred to as “patriots” and “loyalists.” Patriots fought for freedom and independence, and they staked their claims on the concepts of civic participation and representation.

Patriots demanded representation in the British parliament because they opposed the taxing regime that Britain imposed on all of its colonies. 

On the other hand, loyalists contended that independence from Britain would have resulted in significant economic losses and increased military instability and trusted a united empire’s might.

Patriots made up over half of the population of the colonies before and during the American Revolutionary War, while loyalists, who made up just 15–20 percent of the total, were mostly concentrated in New York City.


Key Differences:


  1. They were Patriots fighting for freedom and independence from British rule.
  2. The demand for “no taxation without representation” was raised because they also thought that taxing was unfair and unjust because colonies had no representation in the British Parliament.
  3. Patriots were ardent proponents of civic representation and civic liberties.
  4. Their belief was that their fundamental and inalienable right to freedom was violated by the long-distance British rule over colonies.
  5. Patriots triumphed in the American independence war, granting the colonies their freedom.
  6. More than half of the population had either declared themselves patriots or supported their cause by the time the American Revolutionary War began. 
  7. The population grew by the time the battle was finished.


  1. They approved of British authority and thought a strong empire was one that was united.
  2. In their view, paying taxes to the federal government—which had made investments in the French and Indian Wars—was a just way to sustain it.
  3. Loyalists held that all colonies had an obligation to uphold and obey British laws and regulations.
  4. Additionally, they believed that colonies couldn’t have real representation in the British Parliament.
  5. This was brought on by the geographic separation between London and America.
  6. Once their cause was defeated, the majority of loyalists were compelled to leave America; they either relocated to Great Britain or sought safety in other colonies.
  7. The British administration occasionally compensated them for their allegiance, but the amount never exceeded what the loyalists had suffered during the conflict.

Comparison Between Patriots And Loyalists

PopulationBy the time the American Revolutionary War started, over half of the populace either identified as patriots or supported their cause. By the time the conflict was over, the numbers had increased.Only 15–20% of the populace identified as loyalists or backed the loyalist cause prior to the start of the independence war. However, Great Britain thought that those figures were substantially higher.
BackgroundThe social and economic backgrounds of the patriots varied. Others were ordinary people who supported independence, cheaper taxes, and civic rights; some of them had previously belonged to the Sons of Liberty, an organization established to defend the rights of colonists against the British.Loyalists often profited from the connections to Great Britain. Either they were people of privilege, or they were trading with the ancient continent. However, not all loyalists belonged to the aristocracy; some of them were immigrants, farmers, laborers, former slaves of African descent, and Native Americans.
SiteGiven that they made up between 45 and 50 percent of the total population, it is not unexpected that Patriots were dispersed across the thirteen colonies.New York City served as the bastion of the loyalists. In actuality, the city sent 15,000 soldiers to aid Great Britain in the conflict.
What did they promote?They were in support of the declaration of independence.The loyalists were not in support of the declaration of independence. They rather wanted the colonists to rule over them forever.

Major Differences Between Patriots And Loyalists

Who Exactly Is A Patriot?

An individual who fervently loves their country and thinks they are superior to all other countries is referred to as a patriot. The word “patriot” can now even have negative implications if it suggests violent or racially motivated nationalism.

Patriots, however, were those who supported the thirteen colonies independence from Great Britain in the context of the American independence struggle.

There are several well-known names among those pleading for liberty and independence, especially those of the “Founding Fathers.”

Thomas Jefferson, who drafted the Declaration of Independence and later served as president, John Adams, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Paul Revere, Ethan Allen, and Samuel Adams are all renowned patriots.


Features of Patriots:

  1. This shows that the ethics of believing, a set of standards for assessing our beliefs and other doxastic states, may be used to evaluate patriotism.
  2. From this perspective, Simon Keller has investigated patriotism and found it to be lacking.
  3. According to Keller, although patriotism entails support for one’s nation, love and allegiance to a family member may coexist with a low opinion of that person’s virtues.
  4. The patriot must take into account her opinions about her nation’s accomplishments and qualities if she is to support it.
  5. They ought to be founded on some morally defensible criteria of worth and a fair assessment of the nation’s track record in the past and present.
  6. However, the patriot’s allegiance is not concentrated on her nation just because it exemplifies a range of positive traits a nation may possess.
  7. If such were the case and a nearby nation turned out to possess these qualities to a greater extent, the patriot’s devotion would be redirected in accordance with that discovery.
  8. She is devoted to her nation since it is the only nation that truly belongs to her; her allegiance is “in the first instance.”
  9. Thus, whether or not the evidence supports it, the patriot is driven to believe that the Patria is blessed with all manner of qualities and accomplishments.
  10. She thus develops opinions on her nation in a manner distinct from how she does so for other nations.
  11. Furthermore, she is unable to accept this motive and yet be a patriot.
  12. This causes her to conceal from herself the real origin of some of the associated ideas.

Who Exactly Is A Loyalist?

Not everyone sought independence because they were against British control. But despite what the motherland thought, there was not quite as much support among loyalists for the British monarchy.

Loyalists continued to defend the British Empire even as calls for independence and liberty rose throughout the thirteen colonies, albeit they had to exercise more caution once royal representatives were dismissed.

Loyalists, also known as Royalists and Tories, held marginal holdings in each of the thirteen colonies, but once their cause was overthrown, they emigrated to Canada and other British territories.

Famous loyalists include David Mathews, the mayor of New York City, John Butler, the commander of Butler’s rangers, and Thomas Hutchinson, the colony of Massachusetts governor.


Features of Loyalists:

  1. Although modern Americans consider the War for Independence to have been a revolution, it was also a significant aspect of the American Civil War.
  2. American Loyalists, or “Tories,” as their enemies called them, fought against the rebels in huge numbers because they opposed the Revolution.
  3. Up to 500,000 Loyalists are said to have lived in the colonies, or 20% of the white population.
  4. The majority of educated Americans, whether Loyalists or Revolutionaries, embraced John Locke’s doctrine of limited government and natural rights.
  5. As a result, British policies like the Stamp Act and the Coercive Acts were opposed by both the Loyalists and the rebels.
  6. Because they thought that using violence would lead to tyranny or mob control, loyalists sought out nonviolent protest methods.
  7. Additionally, they thought that gaining independence would mean losing the financial advantages of being a part of the British commercial system.
  8. Loyalists came from all different backgrounds. Small-scale farmers, craftspeople, and business owners made up the majority.
  9. Unsurprisingly, the majority of British authorities continued to support the Crown. It had an aristocratic culture, and the British ruled it during the American Revolution.
  10. Rich businessmen and Anglican clergy tended to retain their allegiance, particularly in Puritan New England.
  11. Some Indians, indentured servants, black people, some German immigrants, and some black citizens (to whom the British promised freedom) also were loyalists; they did so primarily because George III was sprung from Germans.
  12. Each colony included a different proportion of Loyalists. Loyalists constituted approximately half of New York’s population, according to current estimates.

Contrast Between Patriots And Loyalists


  • Patriots- Citizens lose their property due to taxes.
  • Loyalists- To pay for the French and Indian War, which was waged to defend the colonies, taxes were required.


  • Patriots- Because colonists cannot participate in Parliament, England shouldn’t impose taxes on them (No taxation without representation)
  • Loyalists- Without Britain, the American colonies would be weak, and they benefit from commerce with England.


Advantages and disadvantages of being a patriot:


  1. One is motivated to behave in the nation’s best interests by their love and respect for it. Future prosperity for the nation is desired.
  2. Patriotism results in liberty, equity, and justice. Together with its citizens, the government strives to improve the quality of life.
  3. People are united and able to overcome obstacles because of their love for their country and sense of common pride.
  4. The path to freedom is aided by common values and national pride.
  5. Patriotism draws people together to fight through any major depression and win. America won World War II with the help of patriotism.
  6. Being patriotic entails participating in community service, paying taxes, abiding by all rules and regulations, and being aware of your constitutional rights.
  7. In order to make the country a better place for all of its residents, patriotism is crucial. Patriots put forth a lot of effort to advance the nation.
  8. People who are patriotic make history by supporting, toiling for, and even dying for their nation. People develop national loyalty and fortitude to protect their country.
  9. Patriotism aids in the creation of incentives that allow citizens to contribute positively to the nation’s economic progress. 
  10. Doing something positive for their nation would make people happy.


  1. More individuals are divided by patriotism than it unites.
  2. People who adhere to various ideologies face discrimination, and others may believe that certain lives are more valuable than others.
  3. Patriotism should be exercised in moderation and without doing anything that would incite anti-patriotism or cause resentment in order to create a better society.
  4. To love, respect, and uphold a nation’s traditions, a person must obey its laws and behave properly by paying taxes.
  5. When patriotism becomes politicized, it has the potential to divide people into opposing camps and erode core principles.
  6. Blindly defending the government’s policy might spark international conflict.
  7. Immigrants were accused of participating in terrorism during World War II and imprisoned without being given a chance to establish their innocence.
  8. Any individual who is thought to be anti-patriotic is viewed as a terrorist since they oppose government traditions and norms and follow them.
  9. It is prohibited to collect personal information from unaware individuals and use it against them, which restricts their freedom.
  10. The future development of the nation may be hindered if all laws imposed by the government are supported without some of the immoral laws being contested.

Maximum Population: 

  • Patriots- Mostly originated from New England and Virginia.
  • Loyalists- Mostly originated from the south.

Population Percentage: 

  • Patriots- They were more in number, comprising almost 50% of the total population.
  • Loyalists- Their numbers were less than that of the patriots. They comprised 20 to 30 percent of the population.


Famous Patriots

  1. George Washington
  2. Thomas Jefferson
  3. Benjamin Franklin
  4. Ethan Allen

Famous Loyalists

  1. Thomas Brown
  2. John Malcolm
  3. Lt. Col. James Chalmers
  4. Thomas Paine
  5. John Butler
  6. Joseph Brant
  7. Sir John Johnson

Contribution To Army: 

  • Patriots- Most of these fought in the American army.
  • Loyalists- The loyalists were part of the British army.


  • Patriots- The patriots did the job of lawyers, merchants, and farmers.
  • Loyalists- Loyalists were given higher positions like royal officials, clergymen, and wealthy merchants.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. What are the similarities between patriots and loyalists?

Both of them were under British Empire rule. Both patriots and loyalists were mostly descended from English immigrants.

They both belonged to one of the thirteen colonies, were governed by English law, and were prepared to battle for the advancement of their beliefs.

In other words, just as there are Democrats and Republicans in modern-day America, patriots and loyalists were the same individuals with different viewpoints.

Q2. What was the reason for the origin of the patriots?

People in the Americas believed that the British weren’t treating them properly.

They were subject to taxes without their consent or representation in the British government. Soon, “liberty” screams could be heard all across the colonies. Patriots sought an end to British authority.

Q3. Why did not everyone become a patriot?

Many individuals believed that if the colonies were still governed by the British, their lives would be better. Some of these folks were just too terrified to challenge the British army’s force.

Others realized that British commerce was significant to the economy because they had commercial interests there. Others still believed that British authority would be preferable to nationalist rule.

Q4. What did the patriots do in order to gain independence?

Patriots were the Thirteen Colonies residents who rebelled against British rule during the American Revolution and declared independence for the United States of America in July 1776. They also were known as American Whigs, Continentals, or Revolutionaries.

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