Instead, they were great Englishmen. In fact, they were as much English citizens as Americans today are American citizens. It's easy to forget that the revolutionaries in 1776 were people who took up arms against their own government.
So how is it that these men are considered patriots? Well, the truth is that their government didn't consider them patriots at all. Their government considered them to be bad guys — traitors, all of whom deserved to be hanged for treason.
Most of us consider the signers of the Declaration of Independence to be patriots because of their courage in taking a stand against the wrongdoing and tyranny of their own government, even risking their lives in the process.
Yet not even the patriotism and courage of these English citizens constitutes the foremost significance of the Fourth of July, any more than the military victory over their government's forces at Yorktown does.