The Stamp Tax

Too little, too late. On March 18, 1766 the British Parliament repealed the Stamp Act, one of the most contentious pieces of legislation imposed on its colonies in America. The repeal was not enough to quell the rising rebellion, however, and the Stamp Act is viewed as a major contributor to the American Revolution, which officially started about 10 years after the Act was passed.

The Stamp Act was essentially a tax on everything printed in the colonies, including legal documents, newspapers, and magazines. Even playing cards were included. The British government needed a way to pay for the troops left stationed in the colonies after the Seven Years’ War and thought this would be a great way to do it. They were so, so wrong.

The colonists protested, pointing out that they had no representatives in Parliament and therefore no influence or say n what taxes were raised and how. They considered it a violation of their rights as Englishmen to be taxed so arbitrarily and they started sending petitions and protests back home. A Stamp Act Congress was held in New York City to respond to the new law, and the Sons of Liberty arranged protests that often turned violent. Tax distributors were intimdated into resigning in such large numbers the tax was never effectively collected. Finally, Parliament gave in and repealed the act, though at the same time it affirmed its power to legislate for the colonies “in all cases whatsoever”. More and more concerned colonists started joining movements that would eventually lead to the Revolution.



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