Test Oath

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Test Oath

TEST OATH. To force a declaration of principles from those who were indifferent or were secret enemies of the Revolution, state legislatures enacted "test" laws. The oath demanded by these laws varied in the different colonies that adopted the laws, but in general they prescribed loyalty to the Patriot cause, disloyalty to the British government, and a promise not to aid and abet the enemy. In the test acts passed before the Declaration of Independence, "the oath of abjuration and allegiance was omitted" (Van Tyne, p. 131). The British offered various inducements to Americans to swear an oath of allegiance. These included the Peace Commission of the Howes and their offer of 30 November 1776 and the efforts of Patrick Ferguson during the Kings Mountain campaign.

SEE ALSO Kings Mountain, South Carolina; Peace Commission of the Howes.


Van Tyne, Claude H. The Loyalists in the American Revolution. New York: P. Smith, 1929.