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The Stamp Act of 1765

Updated: Sep 30, 2023

The Stamp Act was implemented to pay for British troops deployed in the Colonies. This taxed anything paper. Wills, mortgages, any legal document, it even put a tax on playing cards. All the paper used for these were provided by England, then by a British officer, and had an official English stamp on them. The Colonists had no say where the tax dollars went and how much of it was spent. It was “Taxation Without Representation”. In October 1765 Delegates from nine of the colonies met in New York in what was known as the Stamp Act Congress. The first united action by the Colonists. November 1st, 1765 the Stamp Act goes into effect. March 1766, Parliament issues the Declaratory Act. It states the King and Parliament have full legislative power over the colonies.

This resulted in a huge amount of smuggling. John Hancock became the wealthiest man in Massachusetts if not of all the colonies from smuggling. He had a number of ships and would smuggle anything that made him money. Wine mostly.

Any arrests were tried by an English appointed judge. No jury.

Obviously, this caused major unrest within the colonies and there began to be uprisings throughout them. British officers were run out of town, some tarred and feathered. Of the colonies and cities, Boston was the worst. Colonist raided the home of Stamp Distributor Andrew Oliver and literally destroyed the house. Dragged belongings such as clothes, pictures, books out into the street and burned them. Oliver resigned the next day. Lt. Governor Thomas Hutchinson’s house was also raided with similar results. Hutchinson was sent back to England.

With not a lot of success, the Stamp Act was repelled in about a year's time and replaced by another tax bill.

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