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Resisting Independence

Popular Loyalism in the Revolutionary British Atlantic

In Resisting Independence, Brad A. Jones maps the loyal British Atlantic's reaction to the American Revolution. Through the close study of four important British Atlantic port cities—New York City, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Kingston, Jamaica, and Glasgow, Scotland—Jones argues that the revolution helped trigger a new understanding of loyalty to the Crown and empire. This compelling account reimagines Loyalism as a shared transatlantic ideology, no less committed to ideas of liberty and freedom than the American cause, and not limited to the inhabitants of the thirteen American colonies.

Resisting Independence reminds readers that the American Revolution was as much a story of loyalty as it was of rebellion. As Jones shows, loyal Britons faced a daunting task, for they had to refute an American Patriot cause that sought to dismantle their nation's claim to a free and prosperous Protestant empire. For the inhabitants of these four communities, rejecting American independence thus required a rethinking of the beliefs and ideals that framed their loyalty to the Crown and previously drew together Britain's vast Atlantic empire.

Resisting Independence describes the formation and spread of this new transatlantic ideology of Loyalism. Loyal subjects in North America and across the Atlantic viewed the American Revolution as a dangerous and violent social rebellion, and emerged from twenty years of conflict more devoted to a balanced, representative British monarchy, and crucially, more determined to defend their rights as British subjects. In the closing years of the eighteenth century, as their former countrymen struggled to build a new nation, these loyal Britons remained convinced of the strength and resilience of their nation and empire and their place within it.

Author Information

Brad A. Jones is Professor of History at California State University, Fresno.


Rachel Herrmann, Cardiff University, author of No Useless Mouth:

"The indispensable contribution of Resisting Independence is its deft mapping of a Loyalist ideology in Glasgow, Halifax, Kingston, and New York City that sparked disagreements over the meaning of Loyalism itself. Brad A. Jones's argument challenges readers to think more precisely about the act of proclaiming allegiance in the Revolutionary Atlantic."

Andrew O'Shaughnessy, University of Virginia, author of The Men Who Lost America :

"Resisting Independence is a truly original book. By considering a loyalism that connected New York City, Glasgow, Kingston, and Halifax, Brad A. Jones deftly shows the important parallels between loyalist politics in the thirteen colonies with the politics of British America and Scotland."

Audience: General/trade;