, 1765, Britain's Parliament passed the Stamp Act, requiring colonists to pay a tax on paper goods. Believing, though, their rights as Englishmen were violated, the colonists organized protests that planted the 1st seeds of the #AmericanRevolution
Britain had gone broke winning most of France’s North American territory in the French & Indian War, and this newly acquired land needed protection. Therefore, to pay debts and fund the 10,000 British troops stationed in North America, Britain sought new sources of revenue.
1st, Parliament passed the Sugar Act to strengthen its enforcement of a prior import tax. Though protested, the indirect tax wasn't as controversial as the Stamp Act since it was only collected at ports. But Parliament hoped the Stamp Act—a direct tax with strict enforcement—would reverse its imperial policy of “salutary neglect” that allowed colonists a high degree of #independence
To British lawmakers, a tax on Americans was reasonable, as it was used to protect North America. They thus passed the Stamp Act without approval from colonial legislatures. But since colonists had no representatives in Parliament, they did not accept this justification and immediately protested it as violating liberty.
Colonists met at the Stamp Act #Congress
to issue a “Declaration of Rights and Grievances,” stating their loyalty to England, but as Englishmen, their “undoubted right…that no taxes be imposed on them, but with their own consent, given personally, or by their representatives.”
When the tax was enacted, all stamp agents had already been intimidated into resigning, and a boycott of British goods was underway. Since this hurt British merchants, and Parliament was unwilling to use force to quell the unrest, the tax was repealed months later—though its impact remained:
Colonists awakened to their ability to unite for change. And a decade later, they'd assert their rights, not as free Englishmen, but as independent Americans.