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How Outrageous Taxation Lead to the American Revolution

Autor:   •  October 24, 2018  •  Research Paper  •  1,811 Words (8 Pages)  •  172 Views

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How Outrageous Taxation Lead to the American Revolution

Parliament put forth multiple acts, predating the revolution, which were completely unnecessary, flawed in multiple ways, and were done illegally. Each of the 3 acts which will be discussed played crucial roles in the colonists’ struggle to gain the courage to declare independence, as stated by Edling and Kaplanoff in Alexander Hamilton's Fiscal Reform: Transforming the Structure of Taxation in the Early Republic, “The catalyst of the American Revolution was Parliament’s attempt to impose new taxes in the colonies, and taxes and tax resistance form part of the very origin of the United States”(Edling and Kaplanoff 2004). The three acts were The Stamp Act of 1765, the Townshend Acts of 1767, and lastly the Intolerable Acts of 1774. These acts were illegal because the colonies were not represented in Parliament (Bill of Rights 1689). Three of the more crucial acts imposed by Parliament caused outraged Patriots to act out against Great Britain, leading to the most important war in American History, the Revolution.

In 1765, Parliament enacted the first of three acts which sparked the revolution, the Stamp Act. The Stamp Act of 1765 put taxes on a multitude of items including legal documents, licenses, newspapers, playing cards, and almanacs (Mintz and McNeil 2016). The first of the issues with the Stamp Act was that although it worked great in Great Britain, the Act was vague when implemented in the colonies. Also, Parliament did not take into account how spread apart the towns and cities are in the Colonies. Enforcing the act would be difficult for Great Britain because of how long its would take for any news to reach the colonies (Oats and Sadler 2008).

This is the first instance where colonists question the legality of any tax due to them not being represented in Parliament. This is where James Otis coins the phrase, “No taxation without representation!” Otis is completely right, the Stamp act was a direct violation of the English Bill of Rights. What made the law so offensive, was not the actual cost of the act, one which was very little, but how it set a standard which would cause issues in future taxing of the colonies.

Colonists were also angry about how the money was being used. Instead of the money being used to regulate trade, Great Britain was raising money to fund a large sum of troops stationed at the Appalachian Mountains and tasked with protecting the colonies from any western danger (A Summary of the 1785 Stamp Act). Parliament then quickly repeals the act after colonists being putting pressure on British Merchants, in 1766 (Mintz and McNeil 2016). In the end, this act caused the colonists to begin there rebellion against the British.

In 1767, Parliament puts the Townshend Acts, which lead to the Tea Act, into effect, which spark even more distress. The Townshend Acts placed taxes


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