The Stamp Act 1765
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The Stamp Act
Still desperate for taxes, the English Parliament passed the Stamp Act. Simply, Parliament expected the colonist to purchase special paper with a watermark for all newspapers and legal paperwork. And this affected ALL colonists, unlike the Sugar Act.

England was still looking for additional dollars. The Sugar Act was raising duties but Parliament felt more was needed. The average English taxpayer paid 26 shillings a year. The average colonist was paying less than half that amount. Prime Minister Grenville felt the Americans should be paying their fair share of the costs. So Parliament passed the infamous Stamp Act in March of 1765.

The purpose of the Stamp Act was to require the Americans to purchase special watermarked paper for all newspapers or other legal documents. And if you violated this law you would be arrested and taken to a vice-admiralty court with out a jury of your peers. And you guilty until you could prove otherwise.

Grenville convinced the Parliament this tax would raise 60,000-100,00 pounds. Obviously Grenville didn't really think the Americans would protest too much.

William Pitt, a great defender of the colonies in England, argued the point to Parliament. Parliament could not tax the colonies since the colonies did not have any representation in Parliament. There for it was taxation without representation. Grenville, Pitt's brother-in-law, argued back there were lots of people in England that did not have direct representation in Parliament, so what. And that it was Parliament's job to consider the well being of all subjects, period. (Click here to read William Pitt's words to the House of Commons on January 14, 1766.)

That is not how the colonies were running their local governments. Grenville's position clashed directly. And this time, the Act affected ALL the colonies not just the New England colonies. Town meetings were held. Petitions were signed and sent the English Parliament protesting the Stamp Act. Parliament didn't even give the petitions a hearing.

Patrick Henry convinced the Virginia House of Burgesses in May 30, 1765, to pass a resolution known as the Virginia Resolves. This act denied the English Parliament any right to tax the colonies under the Stamp Act. But word spread all through the colonies about what Henry and the Virginia Burgesses did. Before the end of the year other colonial legislatures passed similar resolutions.

Despite the unpopularity of the Stamp Act, the colonists were not at a point of revolting against English rule. This was another disagreement between a colony and the respected mother country. But the this time the Stamp Act affected everyone in the colonies and put another black mark on the English page.

The Stamp Act was eventually repealed by the English Parliament in 1766.


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