The Stamp Act The British Parliament had a great expectation to collect a massive amount by imposing unjust Stamp Act (taxation) upon the thirteen colonies. The brand new tax law demands the colonists to pay tax on different type of paper items. Under Prime Minster George Grenville the British government was struggling to finance the debt of their nation. Before the Stamp Act, the British Parliament had been passed a Sugar Act to collect revenue from the colonies.
Even though the act was designed to collect revenue specifically from sugar and molasses, the parliament wasn’t able to raise a significant amount of revenue due to the colonies used different tactics to avoid taxation. The Stamp Act tells about the subject of the Northern American colonists and English parliaments imposing an unreasonable system of tax for the colonists to accept; as the result, the colonist’s outcry and asked parliament to repeal the stamp act. For a long time, the settlers were faithful to the British crown.
In the seven year’s war, they fought on England’s side against France and the Indians from 1754 to 1763. In this war England had an upper hand and concludes by taking over most territory from France. After the war was over the crown faced a huge financial problem. The British government was completely in debt because the war was absolutely bloody and costly. In addition to that, the government was spending a tremendous amount of money to protect the interest of the crown in the North America colonics. On this account to fulfill the mission full-time soldiers needed to keep the peace of the colonies.
Naturally English troops were required to watch smuggling, land grabbing, and crime as well as to keep peace with the French. Therefore, the government understood they could not extract enough money from the people in England to defend the colonies. As a solution the parliament decided to get sustainable revenue from the colonies to settle the cost of troops. Since the beginning the American trade had been controlled by the British rules and regulations. It was designed the colonies to produce raw materials to the motherland in return the colonies will get finished product from the motherland.
However, at some point the British officials neglect to control the commerce in the North America as a result smuggling was encouraged in the British colonies. During the seven year’s war Americans continue this dirty work while the French West Indies desperately wanted for food. Even though the British officials had desired to stop this practice they couldn’t. American colonies didn’t stop their smuggling practices, even after the war ended because it was the lifeblood for most Americans.
Though Grenville was introduced to punish the smuggling ways and to raise revenue the most common known as the Sugar Act in 1764, it was not working to stop smuggling. The British supposed to earn huge amount of revenue from tax, but they were losing a thousand pounds because of the smuggling. For example, in 1763 the crown estimated more than 700,000 pound value of goods was smuggled. Therefore, Prime Minster Grenville searched another instrument of revenue extraction from the American colonies. When the people knew the intention of the mother land, the colonists were absolutely infuriated.
The colonies felt deserted by the British government. Therefore, Americans in all colonies started to protest in every means against the new direct tax. The intellectual people spoke out their grievances by writing in newspaper and in public place. On the other side, in different corner of the colonies people organized and formed a group which was known as The Son of Liberty. These groups gave strength of the opposition to the new tax law. The Sons of Liberty carried out rallies and sometimes also protest violently. Most of the time, the crown appointed officials were the main target of the Son of Liberty.
The Son’s forced many stamp masters to quit their jobs by threatening them. When the tax law became into effect in November 1756, there were no stamp collectors officials as a result the requirement was absolutely rejected. For example, Samuel Adams the leader of the Boston Son of Liberty organized a march on the street of Boston to demand “Liberty, Property, not stamp”. Besides that, in August 1765 the Son’s destroyed specifically aiming the property of the Massachusetts lieutenant governor house in spite of destroying property was a profound crime.
Though the British officials were unhappy with the action of Samuel Adams followers, they couldn’t arrest hundreds of protesters. If they tried to put them in jail, the English officials understood they might destroy the city overnight. When the Stamp Act became officially a law in the 1st November, the Sons of Liberty in New Hampshire vocalized their demonstration through carrying a coffin reading LIBERTY – AGED 145 in Portsmouth streets to bury the coffin. Similar reactions were happening in other colonies against the Stamp Act. The Stamp Act also faced a strong challenge and protest by the American leaders as well.
Leaders of the thirteen colonies decided to hold an inter-colonial meeting in New York City on October 9, 1765. At first the meeting seemed a failure because of the thirteen colonies only nine colonies convey their delegates: Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and South Carolina. The delegates found more in common ground to engage against the tax law and put aside their difference. Congress made a significant demand and direct response to the new tax imposed by the British parliament.
The delegate drafted the Declaration of Rights and grievances. And they mailed the letters to the two houses of English Parliament as well as to the king. One of the delegates demand was no taxation without representation. Therefore, the delegates requested to the English Parliament to repeal the new tax; however, the Stamp act went into effect a week after the congresses conclude their meeting. In October 31, 1765 the merchants held a meeting in New York City to discuss what important major action to be taken in regards the Stamp Act. The meeting was taken at the house of Mr. George Burns.
Even though the non-importation agreement first started in New York, other colonies were followed the footstep of New York to do same. The nonimportation and the pressure from English traders persuaded the British parliament to consider repealing the Stamp Act. The New York merchants passed key important resolutions in their meeting. Some of the resolutions: 1. Resolved, that in all orders they send out to Great Britain for goods or merchandise of any nature, kind, or quality whatsoever, usually imported from Great Britain, they will direct their correspondents not to ship them unless the Stamp Act be repealed. .. 3. It is further unanimously agreed that no merchant will vend [sell] any goods or merchandise sent upon commission from Great Britain that shall be shipped from thence after the first day of January next unless upon the condition mentioned in the first resolution. (Quoted. National Humanities Center. Colonists Respond to the Stamp Act, 1765-1764) The motherland failed to implement the new direct tax. The main reason, the British official was forced not to collect any tax by the colonies and the Son’s of Liberty threatened to take action if the tax collectors worked for the Stamp Act.
One merchant, Archibald Hinshelwood, from Nova Scotia explained his feeling of the new tax and how the colonies act: “There is a violent spirit of opposition raised on the Continent against the execution of the Stamp Act, the mob in Boston has carried it very high against Mr. Oliver the Secry (a Town born child) for his acceptance of an office in consequence of that act. They have even proceeded to some violence, and burnt him in effigy &c. ” Therefore, the new tax did not generate significant revenue as the England expected.
Not only that, the Stamp Act encouraged many people to rebel against the Crown. In addition, the English merchants were losing their business due to boycott from the colonies. As a result, these merchants were campaigning for repealed the stamp act. The English parliament did not repeal instantly the demand of the American demand, but they considered canceling the Stamp Act. It was extremely difficult for most lawmakers to give what the colonies demand, however, the British Parliament voted to cancel the new tax. The Crown approved on March 18, 1766 the Stamp Act canceled.
The Stamp Act was a landmark for many American at that time. To begin with, the new tax provoked severely disagreement between the British government and the colonies. From the Stamp Act, the colonies learned a huge lesson to fight for their rights and not to obey for what the England imposed rules and regulations bitter to swallow. The clash leads to war until the colonies got their independent. The Stamp Act of 1765 demanded the colonies to buy state stamps to put on all commercial documents, license, newspapers, bond, and even playing cards.
Even though the tax was to utilize for the cost defending colonies, this tax imposed directly without consulting the colonies. The colonists opposed that this new tax disrespect their basic integrity to tax themselves. The congress underline there was no taxation without Representation. Many colonial lawyers, merchants, and publishers protested. The Son’s of Liberty threatened the tax collectors to take action if they worked for the stamp and destroyed the houses of British officials.