The Stamp Act: What a Disaster!
“No taxation without representation!” This was the cry that came forth from the American rebellion after George Greenville proposed the Stamp Act in England’s House of Commons. George Greenville had a plan to help pay off debt and help pay for soldiers to protect the American frontier. The Stamp Act, Greenville’s plan, was proposed on March 9th 1765 and took effect on March 22nd 1765. The act was to tax printed documents such as ship papers, legal papers, newspapers, licenses, and even playing cards. This act was passed by the British Parliament but wasn’t accepted for long from the Americans. To many it was taken offensively because taxes were originally used for commerce reasons; however, when the Stamp Act came about their money was being used for fundraiser purposes. Was Greenville’s Stamp Act plan a good idea? Although it helped pay off England’s debt and helped pay for England’s protection, it also upset those who were required to pay the extra tax with having no say as to how their money was being used (Colonial Williamsburg).
Some things prior to the Stamp Act were The Sugar Act, The Seven Year War with France, and a Royal Proclamation. The reason there was so much debt to be paid off was because of Great Britain’s involvement in the Seven Years War with France. Hundreds of thousands of pounds were spent on the war by the colonies. George Greenville, the British lord of the treasury, wanted to have Americans pay to help reduce debt. Greenville’s responsibility was to have an effect on economies, to raise money to help budget, and to enforce trade laws (Copeland, 192-193). In order to do what he needed to, Greenville proposed The Royal Proclamation which prohibited settlement along any rivers that fall between the Atlantic Ocean going both West and North. This Proclamation however, was opposed by the colonists because they felt it was unnecessary. The American Colonies were starting to gain economic maturity. Although it was good for them, there was a notice of debt due to supporting and protecting England’s investments. English land taxes consisted of a tax on housing, malt, cider, and beer. The tax on stamps increased and imposed new taxes on things like windows and lights made of glass (Weslager, 28-30). The Currency Act was another act passed prior to the Stamp Act and it came into effect on September 1st, 1764. This act was one of many that Greenville supported. What a surprise, this too was an opposition in the colonies. “The thirteen colonies were without gold or silver mines, and their specie was obtained principally from England or the West Indies in payment for exported products such as tobacco, rum, indigo, furs, lumber, and others”(Weslager, 29). This caused trade to no longer have a balance which meant money would be a problem too. This caused merchants to rely on paper currency as their legal tender. Along with paper currency there were land banks established, loan offices and book credits. The Currency Act denied colonies to issue paper currency (Weslanger, 29). “The act applied to all paper tender used in the colonies, or in the international trade, which meant that the mother country was taking over control of the colonial currency system” (Weslager, 29). Parliament approved Greenville’s Sugar Act of 1764 before he proposed the Stamp Act. The Sugar Act was passed by parliament on April 5th, 1764. This act was also re enacted in 1733 and back then it stated that merchants were required to pay six pence per gallon of foreign molasses that were being imported. This act placed a duty on Sugar but lowered the tax on Americans’ other sweetener known as molasses. Molasses was a sweetener used for cooking things liked baked beans, puddings, pies, bread, home-brewed beer, and more (Copeland, 192-193).“Americans felt that Greenville’s proposal taxes represented a double burden on them because they were already responsible for the debts incurred by the colonies”...
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