This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 13th (it will be out in January 2020), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Refugees From the American Revolution

The idealized story of the American Revolution is that Americans freed themselves from the tyranny of the British. But, as with most things in life, the story is more complicated than that. The Economist this week reviews a new book about the American Revolution looking at it from the side of the "losers" (but not, in this case, the British themselves): "Tories: Fighting for the King in America's First Civil War," by Thomas Allen (New York: Harper, 2010). What caught my eye, in particular, was this description of what happened to those people who were not generally in favor of battling the British:
History is written by the victors. Mr Allen points out that although Loyalists were a minority—in the end perhaps no more than one-fifth of the colonists—in many places they were a very substantial proportion of the population of the colonies. In the end, some 80,000 quit the new republic for Britain, the British colonies in the Caribbean and especially for Canada, where their influence has been lasting. One tragic group were the black freedmen, in danger of being re-enslaved on the orders of George Washington. (At least one of them had belonged to Thomas Jefferson.) They were eventually allowed to emigrate to Nova Scotia, but were so badly treated there that they moved on to West Africa, where they became Sierra Leone’s elite, founding the capital, Freetown.

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