In the mid-late 1760′s, the American colonists began to spark a revolt against their British rulers. The phrase “Taxation without Representation” was brought up by the colonists when they began getting taxed by the Crown. It meant that the colonists were being taxed without any legal representation and they didn’t like it. The reason they were getting taxed was to finance for the costly French-Indian War. This was one of the main causes of the American Revolution.
The Stamp Act was passed by the British Parliament in February of 1765. Prime Minister George Grenville proposed this idea because the Sugar Act was being protested and complained about. This new act stated that when buying a paper item, such as newspapers or licenses, there should be a stamp of purchase on it, sort of like a receipt. British tax collectors sold stamps and distributed the prophets to the Parliament. Grenville thought the Stamp Act was the easiest way to tax the colonists. However, the colonists quickly saw that this was the first real way to tax them, so they protested immediately. Several shopkeepers and publishers from Massachusetts and New York formed the Sons of Liberty. They were originally called the Loyal Nine, and they often used violence to protest the Stamp Act. As time went on, the colonists refused to buy stamps. The courts shut down. In October of 1765, 9 colonies wanted Parliament to repeal the Stamp Act, and in March of 1766, Parliament did just that. The Stamp Act of 1765 helped form the revolutionary group, the Sons of Liberty and it was this group that sparked the revolt against the British Crown.
When the Stamp Act was passed, tax collectors sold stamps a returned the prophets to the British government. The stamps were a way to show that paper products were paid for after the actual purchase. George Grenville proposed this because he thought it was the easiest way to tax, and to show proof of buying the product.
During the Stamp Act protest throughout 1765-66, a rebel group, the Sons of Liberty, was formed in Boston. They all had the same vision; freedom from the Crown. At this time, they all thought the Stamp Act was an unfair way to tax the colonists. Within in this group were shopkeepers, artisans, and some publishers, originally called the “Loyal Nine.” Throughout the protest of the Stamp Act, about 2,000 colonists from every colony joined the Sons of Liberty.
The Sons of Liberty had a unique way of protesting; through violence. One thing they did was hang a tax collector, by the name of Andrew Oliver, from a tree. Also, they dressed up as Mohawk Indians and flat-out terrorized everyone. One non-physical act that they did was publish downgrading remarks towards the British government.
Parliament repealed the Stamp Act in March of 1766. Benjamin Franklin issued an appeal, even though he was a supported of the Crown. After the act was abolished, Parliament passed the Declaratory Act, which means that it has total legislative power over the colonies.
Above is the actual Stamp Act, written and passed by the British Parliament in October of 1765. This was the one of the first acts passed in the new colonies. It was passed because the British government had to finance for the French-Indian War.
Although the Stamp Act was written almost 250 years ago and the wording is tough to understand, the whole point of the law is said within the first section of the document. It states, “For every skin or piece of vellum or parchment, or sheet or piece of paper, on which shall be engrossed, written, or printed, any declaration, plea, replication, rejoinder, demurrer or other pleading, or any copy thereof; in any court of law within the British colonies and plantations in America, a stamp duty of three pence.”
This saying was the one used by the Sons of Liberty during their times of protest. The snake represents the states, saying that if we’re not together, then we can’t function and succeed.
The Stamp Act was really one of the main components that sparked the American Revolution. It was like a “slap in the face” that meant that the Crown was taxing them for the first time, and they knew it. The colonists revolted and the Sons of Liberty formed in Massachusetts. They used violence to scare the tax collectors. Since so many colonists, and most of the colonies, were against the Stamp Act, Parliament abolished it in March of 1766.
This is how the colonists protested against the Stamp Act.
Call to Freedom. Austin, TX: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 2000. Print