Show MoreThe Stamp Act
The Stamp Act was an important act introduced by the British Prime Minister George Grenville that was then passed in March 1765 by the British Parliament. The purpose was to raise money for national debt of Britain after the Seven Years War and Parliament needed means to help fund expensive costs of keeping troops inside the colonies. The act levied a tax on legal documents, almanacs, newspapers, and nearly every other form of paper used in the colonies. The British Government felt that the colonies were the primary reason of the military presence and should pay a portion of the expense. The American colonies did not take kindly to this matter.
Colonists all over greatly opposed the Stamp Act not only because…show more content…
Several days later the crowd got so violent to the point where they destroyed a British officer’s house because of his comment, “would cram the stamps down American throats at the point of his sword”.
The Virginia House of Burgesses then came down and adopted Patrick Henry’s Stamp Act Resolves. These resolves declared that Americans possessed the same rights as the English, especially the right to be taxed only by their own representatives. They declared that the Stamp Act was unjust and illegal and then got support from that multiple people and several colonies.
The Stamp Act Congress in October of 1765 was then held. It was represented by nine colonies throughout October 7th and October 25th. They created a petition to King George III, and several petitions to the Parliament and declaration of their rights describing how they were all being ignored. Finally on March 4th, 1766, the Stamp Act was repealed by the British Parliament, but issued a Declaratory Act at the same time to reaffirm its authority to pass any colonial legislation it saw fit. From this point on, the issues of taxation and representation raised by the Stamp Act strained relations with the colonies to the point where they later rose and rebelled against the British ten years later.
Hollitz, John. Thinking Through the Past: A Critical Thinking Approach to U.S. History. 5th ed. Vol. 1.
A Summary of the 1765 Stamp Act
The Stamp Act was passed by the British Parliament on March 22, 1765. The new tax was imposed on all American colonists and required them to pay a tax on every piece of printed paper they used. Ship's papers, legal documents, licenses, newspapers, other publications, and even playing cards were taxed. The money collected by the Stamp Act was to be used to help pay the costs of defending and protecting the American frontier near the Appalachian Mountains (10,000 troops were to be stationed on the American frontier for this purpose).
The actual cost of the Stamp Act was relatively small. What made the law so offensive to the colonists was not so much its immediate cost but the standard it seemed to set. In the past, taxes and duties on colonial trade had always been viewed as measures to regulate commerce, not to raise money. The Stamp Act, however, was viewed as a direct attempt by England to raise money in the colonies without the approval of the colonial legislatures. If this new tax were allowed to pass without resistance, the colonists reasoned, the door would be open for far more troublesome taxation in the future.
Few colonists believed that they could do anything more than grumble and buy the stamps until the Virginia House of Burgesses adopted Patrick Henry's Stamp Act Resolves. These resolves declared that Americans possessed the same rights as the English, especially the right to be taxed only by their own representatives; that Virginians should pay no taxes except those voted by the Virginia House of Burgesses; and that anyone supporting the right of Parliament to tax Virginians should be considered an enemy of the colony. The House of Burgesses defeated the most extreme of Henry's resolutions, but four of the resolutions were adopted. Virginia Governor Fauquier did not approve of the resolutions, and he dissolved the House of Burgesses in response to their passage.
Jump to Top