In c. 1775, at the beginning of the Revolutionary War, the majority of Americans were neutral or ‘fence-sitters’. Both the British and the American patriots launched a propaganda campaign to garner support. The Americans won the propaganda war, with publications such as Thomas Paine’s ‘Common Sense’ calling for independence from Britain stirring nationalistic sentiment when it was published in 1776. Many of those loyal to Britain were in the southern states, but there were significant numbers clustered around New York and in Nova Scotia to the north. Novia Scotia was ambivalent about whether to join the Revolutionary War against the British, but became resolutely loyalist after American privateers began raiding ships and looting communities around Halifax. Many loyalists were publicly humiliated and their property looted by patriots. About 80,000 loyalists left America for Canada or Britain during and after the war.
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