Expanding on History – Pennsylvania, Virginia and Maryland

British surrender at Yorktown

British surrender at Yorktown

Continuing our look at the colonies during the revolution, we have two big ones on the plate this week, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Closing the post will be the great state of Maryland. Let’s start with the state many people associate with the revolution itself, Pennsylvania.

revolutionary-war-generalsMost of us know that Philadelphia was the site of the continental congress, but the congress was also located in Lancaster and York at times during the war. Despite this commitment to the revolution, like many of the middle colonies, Pennsylvania was greatly conflicted about the separation from England during the early years. The ruling Quaker elite had strong ties to the crown, and did as much as possible to slow Pennsylvania’s progression towards rebellion. Once committed, there would be fierce battles fought around Philadelphia for control of the capital, with the British occupying the city through the winter of 1777-1778. On the frontier, Pennsylvanians fought the combined forces of the British and Native American tribes.  At the end of the war more than 1000 loyalists fled to Canada and England.


A substantial percentage of Virginians remained loyal to the British Crown and Parliament during the American Revolution. The Virginia politicians sought peaceful resolution of their grievances and not physical conflict. As circumstances rapidly changed—with the expansion of settlements in the interior, an increasingly diverse population, the impact of a slave labor system, and oppressive British taxes—many Virginians became disenchanted with royal rule. Virginia would go on to surpass all other colonies in political and military talent, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry and George Mason. Virginia was also home to the most important battle of the war, Yorktown, where Washington forced the surrender of Cornwallis.

In contrast to Virginia and Pennsylvania, Maryland’s political climate was more subdued. Maryland was not the scene of significant military action during the War for Independence, but made contributions by supplying men, arms and ships. Annapolis hosted the continental congress early in the war when Philadelphia was threatened. Troops from Maryland were regarded as some of the best trained and prepared in the continental army.

Will you continue to follow the King as a loyal subject or will you push for Revolution? Perhaps you will take the middle ground, acting as a balance between other states.  

You can make those decisions and more by joining us on December 3rd for The World Turns Upside Down – Tickets are on sale now! Do not throw away your shot…

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