Saturday, June 09, 2012
Alan Taylor on "Loyalist" Upper Canada
In Upper Canada most of the common people felt ambivalent about taking sides in the war. Drawn to the colony by low taxes and cheap land, the American-born majority had scant interest in politics and a great dread of war. Localist, pragmatic, and self-interested they balked at making sacrifices for any larger political cause, whether for an empire or a republic. The common folk were loyal enough to Britain so long as the colonial government left them alone, but they felt shocked by the sudden wartime demand for their services in the militia. British officials mistook their reticence for disloyalty, and the Americans misunderstood it as longing for a republic. . In fact most people just wanted to be left alone to tend their farms, so they hoped that one side or the other would win the war quickly.