Black volunteers, detesting slavery and wanting liberty, fought on both sides of the revolutionary war. The activities of African-American revolutionaries were matched by those of black loyalists, some of whom were deliberately recruited into military service by British commanders eager to destabilize the plantation economy, especially in tidewater Virginia. This British policy was bitterly resented by slaveholders. Many of these soldiers retreated to Canada with the British after 1783. Freedom proved elusive for black protagonists on both sides. The U.S. flirtation with freedom for blacks proved ephemeral. Slavery persisted as a national institution and free people of color increasingly faced racial discrimination during the course of the antebellum period. Some loyalists who evacuated with the British were sold into slavery in the West Indies. Others found barriers to civil equality in their new Canadian homes.