Generous Enemies: Patriots and Loyalists in Revolutionary New York

TitleGenerous Enemies: Patriots and Loyalists in Revolutionary New York
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2002
AuthorsVan Buskirk, Judith
Number of Pages260
PublisherUniversity of Pennsylvania Press

In July 1776, the final group of more than 130 ships of the Royal Navy sailed into the waters surrounding New York City, marking the start of seven years of British occupation that spanned the American Revolution. What military and political leaders characterized as an impenetrable "Fortress Britannia"—a bastion of solid opposition to the American cause—was actually very different. As the author reveals, the military standoff produced civilian communities that were forced to operate in close, sustained proximity, each testing the limits of political and military authority. Conflicting loyalties blurred relationships between the two sides; indeed, the texture of everyday life during the Revolution was much more complex than historians have recognized. This volume challenges many long-held assumptions about wartime experience during the American Revolution by demonstrating that communities conventionally depicted as hostile opponents were, in fact, in frequent contact. Examining the movement of Loyalist and rebel families, British and American soldiers, free blacks, slaves, and businessmen, the author shows how personal concerns often triumphed over political ideology. 

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