Exile, Choice, and Loyalism: Taking and Restoring Dignity in the American Revolution

Symposium on “Dignity Takings,” in Law & Social Inquiry (2016)

NYU School of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 16-25

48 Pages Posted: 11 Jul 2016  

Daniel J. Hulsebosch

New York University School of Law

Date Written: July 11, 2016

Abstract

Taking a cue from Bernadette Atuahene’s concept of “dignity takings” and her insight that government expropriation inflicts more than economic injury, this essay analyzes how American revolutionaries defined political membership, penalized and expropriated British loyalists, and then allowed some to join the American polity in the decade after the Revolution. Many recovered their property, professions, and legal privileges. However, because most loyalists could choose to remain loyal or join the Revolution, they did not lose human dignity as Atuahene defines it. Case studies of two reintegrating lawyers, Richard Harison and William Rawle, explore loyalism, the loss of dignities that loyalists suffered, and some paths toward reintegration. Their appointment as federal attorneys helped make the government conversant in the common law, British statutes, and the law of nations, which in turn supported the Federalist goal of reintegrating the United States into the Atlantic World: achieving, in other words, national dignity.

Suggested Citation

Hulsebosch, Daniel J., Exile, Choice, and Loyalism: Taking and Restoring Dignity in the American Revolution (July 11, 2016). Symposium on “Dignity Takings,” in Law & Social Inquiry (2016); NYU School of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 16-25. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2807954

Daniel J. Hulsebosch (Contact Author)

New York University School of Law ( email )

40 Washington Square South
503
New York, NY 10012-1099
United States

Paper statistics

Downloads
51
Rank
321,747
Abstract Views
279