1) Ever wonder where the term "patriot" came from?

No, I don't mean the dictionary or the etymology. I mean in the context in which the Founders used it.

2) To understand it, you must first understand what America had become between 1730 and 1775.
3) American society--already sharply different from England's with its clear social distinctions--had seen a growing number of people cease to be poor in any sense of the word.

4) America was becoming radically equal between 1730 and the Revolution, to the great concern of . . .
4) contd . . modern liberal historians, who want everyone to think that the American colonies were a rigid caste structure.

5) Quite the contrary. Up to the 1730s there were indeed some pretty strong differences between "landed" gentry and those who made money through "trades."
6) In one instance, a man who had gained a fortune through merchant activities won a seat on the council. Nine other members resigned rather than be associated with someone of "lesser" breeding.

7) But that was fading by the early 1700s.
8) It is interesting that the gentry did not typically deal in contracts or payment schedules, but rather exerted their will as "gentlemen." A reputation was everything.

9) As more and more people moved upward socially, these informal structures disappeared.
10) Increasingly, we see the use of contracts, payment books, and paper money changing hands in place of an invisible social bond. (England of course did everything it could to stop the spread of paper money).
11) And "common men" could and did know what was in contracts. We see this in the militias.

12) Militias were different from standing armies in so many ways, but two important distinctions were that militias ELECTED their officers, and they signed up for an "enlistment."
13) These were actual contracts of enlistment and on many occasions entire companies just left the battlefield because their contract enlistment was up. This may seem "unpatriotic," but as free men, they viewed their contracts as a measure of their worth & value.
14) If someone didn't honor their enlistment (either way), it said something about the person's worth--that they weren't an "Englishman" with the "rights of Englishmen."

15) During the Revolution, Benedict Arnold was forced into an early attack, at night, in winter . . .
15) contd . . . on Quebec because his men's enlistments were up the next morning!

Think of that: some might see it as "dishonorable" that the men would leave during a campaign, but note that they were honorable enough to launch a crazy attack because of their . . . contracts.
16) Hang on--I'm getting to "Patriot."

17) So as American colonial society changed, becoming drastically more equal, the differences were no longer between squire and tradesman, noble and commoner, even black or white (unless a black was enslaved), but between . . .
17) contd . . . those Americans who were free enough to SIGN contracts, to ENGAGE in business transactions, to JOIN the militia and those who were slaves.

18) "Patriot's" was the name given to each other--regardless of rank or financial status--if you resisted the monarchy.
19) Thus, a "Patriot" was someone who was not willing to have his status again reduced to what he was before . . . America.

20) Even while proclaiming the "rights of Englishmen," the American Patriot's did not want to return to the status of ENGLISH Englishmen.
21) In that manner, planters, merchants, tradesmen, and farmers were all united in the colonies against the attempt to impose upon them limitations from a previous time in their society, even if those controls and boundaries currently existed on their cousins across the pond.
22) Patriot's resisted a return to aristocratic influence and patronage--even the wealthier Americans, who had made their own fortune.

23) In claiming the "rights of Englishmen" they claimed the natural evolutionary rights that England should have had.
24) These are what are called "republican expectations" by the great historian Gordon Wood.

25) More and more ordinary people participated in politics and the contested elections for state seats increased.

26) Most of all, the Patriots knew from their own lives . . .
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