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The Stamp Tax Uproar During American Revolution

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Victory-flushed Britain emerged from the Seven Years’ War holding one of the biggest empires in the world — and also, less happily, the biggest debt, some £140 million, about half of which had been incurred defending the American colonies. Prime Minister George Grenville first aroused the resentment of the colonists in 1763 by ordering the British navy to begin strictly enforcing the Navigation Laws. He also secured from Parliament the so-called Sugar Act of 1764, the first law ever passed by that body for raising tax revenue in the colonies for the crown. After bitter protests from the colonists, the duties were lowered substantially, and the agitation died down. But resentment was kept burning by the Quartering Act of 1765. This measure required certain colonies to provide food and quarters for British troops

Then in the same year, 1765, Grenville imposed the most odious measure of all: a stamp tax, to raise revenues to support the new military force. The Stamp Act mandated the use of stamped paper or the affixing of stamps, certifying payment of tax. Stamps were required on bills of sale for about fifty trade items as well as on certain types of commercial and legal documents, including playing cards, pamphlets, newspapers, diplomas, bills of lading, and marriage licenses A.B Parliament Forced to Repeal the Stamp Act. Colonial outcries against the hated stamp tax took various forms. The most conspicuous assemblage was the Stamp Act Congress of 1765, which brought together in New York City twenty-seven distinguished delegates from nine colonies. After dignified debate the members drew up a statement of their rights and grievances and beseeched the king and Parliament to repeal the repugnant legislation3.3 The Stamp Act Congress, which was largely ignored in England, made little splash at the time in America. Its ripples, however, began to erode sectional suspicions, for it brought together around the same table leaders from the different and rival colonies. It was one more halting but significant step toward intercolonial unity. Sometimes violence accompanied colonial protests. Groups of ardent spirits, known as took the law into their own hands.

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The Stamp Act was repealed by Parliament in 1766.Parliament passed the Declaratory Act, which reaffirmed England’s right to rule absolutely over the American colonies.

Control of the British ministry was now seized by the gifted but erratic Champagne Charley Townshend, a man who could deliver brilliant speeches in Parliament even while drunk. Rashly promising to pluck feathers from the colonial goose with a minimum of squawking, he persuaded Parliament in 1767 to pass the Townshend Acts. They put a light import tax on glass, white lead, paper, paint, and tea.2.2American colonists were rebellious to the new taxes and as a result of these rebellions, the British landed 2 regiments of troops in the colonies in 1768.3.3 On the evening of March 5, 1770, a crowd of some sixty townspeople set upon a squad of about ten redcoats, the redcoats opened fired on the civilians, killing/wounding 11 of them. This event was later called or known as the Boston Massacre.


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