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Karen Palumbo

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On This Day 3/22/1765
3/14/2011 8:30:42 PM    [ Flag as Inappropriate ]


British pass the "Stamp Act"

Hoping to raise sufficient funds to defend the vast new American territories won from the French in the "Seven Years War" the British government passes the norotious "Stamp Act".

The legislation levied a direct tax on all materials printed for commercial and legal use in the colonies, including everything from broadsides and insurance policies to playing cards and dice.

Though the "Stamp Act" employed a strategy that was a common fundraising vehicle in Great Britain, it stirred a storm of protest in the colonies. The American colonists argued that, as British subjects, Parliament could not impose taxes upon them without their consent, as given through the various Colonial Representative Assemblies.

Believing this right to be in peril, the American colonists rioted and intimidated all the stamp agents responsible for enforcing the act into resignation. Not ready to put down the rioters with military force, Parliament eventually repealed the legislation.

However, ther fracas over the "Stamp Act" helped plant seeds for a far larger movement against the British government and the eventual "Battle for Independence". Three critical political forces came into being during the "Stamp Act" crisis that would serve to advance the cause of rebellion ten years later.

First, the "Sons of Liberty", a group of tradesmen who led the riots in Boston, Massachusetts and other seaboard cities, was established. Second, the formation of the "Stamp Act Congress" united politically active gentlemen across colonial boundaries, as the Continental Congress would again do in 1774.

Finally, the non-importation agreements developed in response to the "Stamp Act" gave the colonial population a sense of power as consumers of British goods. Although the British Parliament repealed the "Stamp Act" before they learned of the colonial non-importation pact, the American colonists believed that all Britons had acted out of fear of their own economic collapse.

During the coming "American Revolution", non-importation would again serve as a means by which average men, in particular, women could express their patriotism.



(K) (HST)


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