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November 2, 2010

Allen to Discuss “Tories: Fighting for the King in America’s First Civil War,” Nov. 30

Most Americans have learned the essential narrative of the American Revolution: Our Founding Fathers led proud Patriots to fight against British rule and ultimately prevailed. Rarely mentioned are the thousands of Tories, or Loyalists, who supported the British and fought to remain in their American homes as loyal subjects of the crown. Historian Thomas B. Allen contends the American Revolution was as much a civil war as it was a rebellion against the British.

Allen will discuss his book "Tories: Fighting for the King in America’s First Civil War" at the Library of Congress at noon on Tuesday, Nov. 30, in Dining Room A on the sixth floor of the James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C. The event, sponsored by the Library’s Humanities and Social Sciences Division, is free and open to the public. No tickets or reservations are needed. Book sales and a signing will follow the program.

According to Allen, Benjamin Franklin is ingrained in American history as a significant force in the call for independence, but his son William Franklin led a brutal Tory guerrilla force in New Jersey during the Revolution. Although Philadelphia is glorified as the site for the signing of the Declaration of Independence, it served as a Tory stronghold.

Throughout the war, Tories fought in militias or alongside the British military, and in some southern states actually outnumbered the Redcoats. Civilian mobs on both sides engaged in torture, house-burning and lynching, while they continued to live side-by-side as neighbors. Hatred between Tories and Patriots split families and communities and was so divisive that more than 80,000 Tories eventually fled to Canada, Great Britain, Africa, and the Caribbean.

When the Loyalists fled, they took much of the documentation on the Revolution with them. Allen’s meticulous research through archives in Canada and England adds a new dimension to the story of independence. Weaving a fascinating blend of military, social and family history, Allen gives voice to previously unheard Americans.

Allen is the author or co-author of numerous history books, including "George Washington, Spymaster," "Remember Valley Forge," "Mr. Lincoln’s High-Tech War" and "The Bonus Army March." He is a frequent contributor to Smithsonian Magazine, National Geographic, Military History Quarterly, Naval History and many other periodicals writing on such diverse topics as giant squid, treasure ships and D-Day. Allen was a consultant and on-screen speaker for the series "Secrets of War" for the History Channel and frequently appears on television as an expert on military and intelligence topics.

The Humanities and Social Sciences Division provides reference service and collection development in the Main, Local History and Genealogy, and Microform reading rooms at the Library of Congress. It regularly sponsors programs in the arts, humanities and social sciences.

The Library of Congress, the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution and the largest library in the world, holds nearly 145 million items in various languages, disciplines and formats. The Library serves the U.S. Congress and the nation both on-site in its reading rooms on Capitol Hill and through its award-winning website at www.loc.gov. Many of the Library’s rich resources and treasures may also be accessed via interactive exhibitions on a personalized website at myLOC.gov.

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PR 10-251
11/02/10
ISSN 0731-3527

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