Treatment to Those Loyal

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Treatment to Those Loyal

From the previous lessons it can seen that not all colonists wanted to go to war. Why were Loyalist opinions not represented as much as the Patriots? A lot of this is due to the treatment of Loyalists by the rebel government and its citizens. The rebels treatment of Loyalists made them fear discovery and oppression. After the American Revolution, around 80,000 Loyalists left the United States for Canada for fear of increased oppression by the now United States government.

To better understand the perspective of Loyalists during the Revolution, students should understand how patriots treated known or suspected loyalists. Students will learn about the Oath of Allegiance of 1777 that effectively made opposition to the revolution very dangerous for Loyalists and their families. Students will read and interpret the accounts of Rebecca Shoemaker and her family. Students will read Samuel Fisher’s story of his arrest by the Philadelphia colonial government for being suspected of being a Tory and how both Fisher and his family were treated by the patriots for their beliefs. Students will also analyze a representation of the most famous traitor of the American Revolution, Benedict Arnold.  Using a Venn diagram, students will describe the similarities and differences between the perspectives of Rebecca Shoemaker, Samuel Fisher, and the representation of Benedict Arnold. 


Essential Questions

What role do multiple causations play in describing a historic event?
What role does analysis have in historical construction?


Students will be able to:

  • ·         Analyze journal entries to explain how Loyalists and non-war supporters were treated by the patriots during the Revolutionary War.
  • ·         Understand why many Loyalists left the United States after the Revolution.
  • ·         Understand the perspectives of Loyalists as to why they would fight against the patriots during the Revolution.

Other Materials

  • A Representation of the Figures Exhibited and Paraded through the Streets of Philadelphia student handout.
  • Rebecca Shoemaker Papers student handout.
  • Dr. and Mrs. Henry Drinker Collection of Miscellaneous Family Papers student handout.
  • Presentation: Treatment to those Loyal.
  • Venn Diagram

Links for the materials are found at the bottom of the page

Suggested Instructional Procedures

1. (5min) Start with an entrance ticket

  •  What do you think was the punishment for not supporting the Revolutionary War?
  • Why do you believe this?

2. (10min) Have students read two excerpts from Rebecca Shoemaker Papers.
Students answer the Guided Questions provided:

  • What did the revolutionaries do to the Shoemaker family?
  • In addition to this, Mrs. Shoemaker’s husband was forced to flee the country because the Continental Congress passed a law that decreed that all known Tories/Loyalists have their assets seized to support the Revolution.

           o How does your opinion of the Revolution change?

3. (10min) Using the presentation provided show the legal consequences of being a Loyalist during the Revolution.

  • What does the Oath of Allegiance demand of every adult male colonist?
  • What are the consequences for not following these demands?
  • How is the Oath of Allegiance Act problematic for the Colonists? Why?
  • Do you think that this section would extend to other groups within the United States?
  • What groups come to mind and why?

4. (15min) Students get into groups of 3-4. Have them answer questions and then discuss their answers. Afterwards, while students are still in their groups, have students discuss and answer the after reading discussion.
Have students read  Dr. and Mrs. Henry Drinker Collection of Miscellaneous Family Papers.
After reading, answer the questions:

  •  What makes Samuel Rowland Fisher’s story different from Rebecca Shoemakers?
  •  Why was Mr. Fisher arrested?
  •  Do you believe Fisher acted appropriately when being charged as a Tory? Why?
  •  Does being a Quaker affect his treatment in his trial?
  •  From the readings, do you believe either author committed treason? Why?

5. (10min) Present the picture of "A Representation of the Figures Exhibited and Paraded through the Streets of Philadelphia."
Students observe the photo and, in their groups, discuss and answer the questions in the sheet provided:

  •  How is Benedict Arnold depicted in the photo?
  •  What do you believe is the opinion of the author of the representation?
  •  Read the description below the photo. What disloyal acts did Benedict Arnold’s do to be charged with high treason?
  •  How is Arnold’s treason different from the previous readings?

Groups disband; provide students the compare and contrast Venn diagram.

6. (10 min) Ending Activity: Compare and Contrast Venn diagram

  • From the readings, what are the similarities and differences of how revolutionaries viewed and treated the authors and Benedict Arnold?



Oath of Allegiance: In 1777, every free male of the age of 18 or older is required to swear an oath renouncing the King of England and to pledge allegiance to the revolutionary government

Way-lay: attack from ambush

Disaffect: to alienate the affection or loyalty of

Environ: encircle, surround