The Sugar Act
Sugar and molasses were important commodities for Britain since they were its source of revenue from the colonies. The British West Indies were originally the colonists’ main molasses provider; however the colonists bought molasses from foreign markets where the commodity was cheaper. Because the colonists depended on other countries, the British government passed the Molasses Act in 1733, which implemented a tax of six pence per gallon on molasses bought from non-British colonies. The British hoped that the high tax would persuade the colonists to buy molasses from the British West Indies. In addition, the Molasses Act was supposed to help the West Indies gain profits and raise revenue to pay off the debt from the French and Indian War in 1763. Nonetheless, it was never seriously enforced because the colonists found ways to avoid paying the tax such as smuggling molasses and bribing custom officials. Furthermore, the new taxation jeopardized the region Britain’s economy instead since it hurt the West Indies’ rum industry, which relied on molasses (Abdullah). British Prime Minister George Grenville passed the Sugar Act on April 5, 1764 in order to end illegal trading and collect money. The Sugar Act was not effective in gaining income. The act decreased the tax to three pence per gallon, which was supposed to make the tax more manageable for the colonists to pay. Nonetheless, it taxed more items such as textiles and wine. Furthermore, a new system of monitoring and security in trade emerged. There was a strict shipping procedure that colonists had to follow. Items for instance lumber were forced to be exported through British ports first before they land in foreign countries. Foreign exporters were required to fill out paperwork of their cargoes to confirm that no goods were smuggled into the country. Britain hoped that these rules would cause more trading with British merchants and employment of English workers (Boyer 134). Besides expanding the...
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