Students must understand that not all South Carolinians, indeed not all American colonists, agreed that the colonies should be independent from Great Britain. The perspectives and roles of different South Carolinians during the American Revolution led to a civil war within South Carolina and ultimately impacted the success of the Patriot cause in the Revolutionary War.
Patriots were those colonists who supported the Continental Congress and independence. Lowcountry South Carolina Patriots created a provisional government to control the colony during the war. The political leaders were wealthy white men who were land owners and who supported independence. South Carolina Patriots volunteered as soldiers to fight in colonial militias and with Patriot partisan groups.
South Carolina Loyalists, who remained loyal to the King and Great Britain, volunteered to fight on the side of the British. There were more Loyalists in South Carolina than in any of the other colonies, except New York. Most soldiers in the backcountry were Loyalists, or Tories as the American Patriots derisively referred to them. Many of the backcountry people were not true loyalists in principal, but instead wished to live their lives without interference. An example would be the number of backcountry German immigrants who had no allegiance to either the King or to the principles of democracy. Lowcountry Patriots and backcountry Loyalists fought each other in the Revolutionary War. When the war ended, many Loyalists voluntarily left South Carolina for the Caribbean or Canada. Others were fined or run out of town.
Some South Carolina women were Patriots, others were Loyalists and still others wished to not be involved in the war. Women managed farms and plantations when the men were away. Some served as messengers or nurses; others sacrificed their homes and fortunes.
Most African Americans continued to work as slaves in South Carolina. Some African Americans served as soldiers in the Continental Army. However, South Carolinians feared a slave uprising so at first they rejected the Continental Congress’s appeal to allow slaves to serve in non-military jobs for the army such as cooking. Later, when more manpower was needed, the law was changed to allow 1/3 of the militia to be made up of slaves but they were not allowed to serve as soldiers. African Americans fought with the partisan bands. South Carolina did not offer slaves their freedom in exchange for their service in the army. African Americans fought for the British in response to the promise that they would earn their freedom. In this effort, they were disappointed.
At first, many Native Americans tribes avoided war. After American colonists attacked the Native Americans on the frontier, Native Americans retaliated. Many supported the British because the British promised to return control of the west to the Native Americans. The Cherokees supported the British and attacked the colonists.
8-2.4 Essential Notes Guided Reading Questions Key
1. What were the differences between Patriots and Loyalists?
2. Which types of people were Patriots?
3. Which types of people were Loyalists?
4. How did people in the Back Country react to the start of the American Revolution?
5. How did people in the Low Country react to the start of the American Revolution?
6. Why were planters concerned about African slaves during the American Revolution?
7. How did different Native American nations react when the American Revolution began?
What were different perspectives in South Carolina during the American Revolution?