The single issue which contributed to the American colonies declaring their independence from Great Britain was taxation without representation. You see, while Great Britain was fighting with France to protect the colonies during the Seven Years’ War, they accumulated a lot of debt. As a result, members of Parliament determined that the colonies were obligated to share the costs of empire. The efforts to rectify these deficiencies and collect extraordinary amounts of revenue from the colonists, violated what many American colonists understood as the clear precedent of more than a century of colonial-imperial relations.
During the Seven Years’ War with France, the English Prime Minister William Pitt, began issuing orders to his troops. One such orders was to forcible enlist colonists into the army, a practice called Impressments. They also took supplies from farmers, blacksmiths, made colonists provide shelter to troops, all without compensation. Later Pitt would relax these policies that colonists hated and vowed to reimburse the colonists. The later never happened.
After France surrendered to Great Brittan, many in London believed the war was for American benefit and they should help pay. Because of the huge war debt the Empire compiled, they were forced to increase taxes on the colonists. One such tax was the Sugar Act of 1764, which raised the duty on sugar while lowering the duty on foreign molasses.
Another tax was the Stamp Act of 1765. Under the Act, colonists would be required to buy stamps from royal collectors and put them on any printed material in the colony. Unlike the Molasses or Sugar Acts, the Stamp Act levied a direct tax on the colonies designed to raise revenue. Colonists considered such measures unconstitutional.
From a time so long ago that it cannot be remembered, colonial legislatures had exercised exclusive authority to levy direct revenue taxes in the Americas, their sovereignty derived directly from the people they...
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