Patriot (American Revolution)
Patriots, also known as Revolutionaries, Continentals, Rebels, or American Whigs, were the colonists of the Thirteen Colonies who rejected British rule during the American Revolution, and declared the United States of America an independent nation in July 1776. Their decision was based on the political philosophy of republicanism—as expressed by such spokesmen as Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Thomas Paine. They were opposed by the Loyalists, who supported continued British rule.
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Patriots represented the spectrum of social, economic, and ethnic backgrounds. They included lawyers such as John Adams, students such as Alexander Hamilton, planters such as Thomas Jefferson and George Mason, merchants such as Alexander McDougall and John Hancock, and farmers such as Daniel Shays and Joseph Plumb Martin. They also included slaves and freemen such as Crispus Attucks, one of the first casualties of the American Revolution; James Armistead Lafayette, who served as a double agent for the Continental Army; and Jack Sisson, leader of the first successful black operation mission in American history under the command of Colonel William Barton, resulting in the capture of British General Richard Prescott.