According to the 1790 census, most Americans were of English ancestry. Most New Englanders were English-Americans, as were many in the Mid-Atlantic region. In the Mid-Atlantic states, however, other groups of settlers; such as the Dutch, Germans and Scotch-Irish; were also present in large numbers. The English had a strong presence in the South as well, but were also rivaled by the number of African, Scotch-Irish, Scottish, German and French residents in the region.
Among the English-Americans were those who had opposed the American Revolution and remained loyal to Britain. At the start of the Revolutionary War, at least one third of the colonists were loyalists. By the end of the war, however, this number seemed to have dwindled. By the end of the war, there were still people who chose to oppose the patriot side. Many of these loyalists moved to Canada or England, since returning to their homes could be a deadly risk. Nevertheless, some loyalists chose to remain in the United States. Those who remained were required to pledge an oath of allegiance to the new nation. Refusal meant that they would lose the right to vote or take a case to court. Most loyalists who had fled, and some who had remained, had their property confiscated. Some were tarred and feathered and carried out of town. It would be many years before the resentment between former loyalists and patriots would fade away.