While history pays much attention to the urban unrest of the American Revolution, much resistance occurred in the countryside as well. During this era, America was overwhelming rural; only about two or three percent of the population lived in the large towns of New England and the Middle Colonies. The chief occupation of the rural inhabitants was agriculture. The revolutionary spirit was clearly evident in this social class: "It lay not in the mob or rabble, for American society was overwhelmingly rural and not urban, and had no sufficient amount of mob or rabble to control the movement, but in the peasantry, substantial and energetic though poor, in the small farmers and frontiersmen" (Jameson 18). History, however, focuses on the contribution of aristocrats like the founding fathers than on the role of the peasantry.
Historians have largely overlooked the contributions of various ethnic immigrants, blacks, and the lower classes to the American Revolution. The focus instead has been on the founding fathers. The founding fathers, however, were largely critical of the mob actions of the common man during the tense periods preceding the war, even though such mass movement was largely responsible for the war. For the men who engaged in insurrection, the high ideals of freedom and liberty were more than paper principles. The lower classes, blacks, and ethnic immigrants who fought in the American Revolution were caught up in a great struggle with consequences on both the macro and micro levels of their lives.
Likewise, the contribution of blacks has been greatly unwritten. Blacks, both free and slave, had very high personal stakes in the outcome of the American Revolution. Free blacks believed that their conditions would improve if the outcome was favorable to the colonists. Black slaves had an even bigger stake, their freedom. For this reason, a substantial number of black slaves joined the British cause: "As the war dragged on, military necessity f