Three Peoples, One King: Loyalists, Indians and Slaves in the Revolutionary South


History and Philosophy

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Three Peoples, One King explores the contributions and conjoined fates of Loyalists, Indians, and slaves who stood with the British Empire in the Deep South colonies during the American Revolution. Challenging the traditional view that British efforts to regain control of the southern colonies were undermined by a lack of local support, Jim Piecuch demonstrates the breadth of loyal assistance provided by these three groups in South Carolina, Georgia, and East and West Florida. Piecuch attributes the ultimate failure of the Crown's southern campaign to the ruthless program of violent suppression of Loyalist forces carried out by the revolutionaries and Britain's inability to capitalize fully on the support available. In the process of revisiting some cherished opinions respecting the Revolution, Piecuch provides a compelling alternative to long-held notions of heroism and villainy in America's war for independence.

Covering the period from 1775 to 1782, Piecuch systematically surveys the roles of these three groups--Loyalists, Indians, and slaves--across the southernmost colonies to illustrate the investments each had in allying with the British, their interconnected efforts on behalf of their king, and the high price they paid for their loyalty during and after the war. In honing his focus on the Deep South, where British forces struggled to maintain control as their hold on the northern colonies waned and where some of the war's fiercest combat took place, Piecuch offers a sustained interpretation of the war from the British perspective.

Although other studies have assessed the stance of white Loyalist militias and the efforts of revolutionaries to woo them or defeat them, Piecuch's is the first to offer a synthetic approach to all three Loyalist populations--white, black, and Native American--in the South during this era. He subjects each of the groups to intensive investigation, making new discoveries in the histories of escaped or liberated slaves, of still-powerful Indian tribes, and of the bitter legacies of white loyalism. He then employs an integrated approach that advances understanding of Britain's long hold on the South and the hardships experienced by those groups who were in varying degrees abandoned by the Crown in defeat. Aided by thirty-four illustrations and maps, Piecuch's pathbreaking study will appeal to scholars and students of American history as well as Revolutionary War enthusiasts open to hearing an opposing perspective.