The Townshend Act Essay

614 words - 2 pages

The Townshend ActThe Townshend Acts` repeal of the Stamp Act left Britain's financial problems unresolved. Parliament had not given up the right to tax the colonies and in 1767, at the urging of chancellor of the Exchequer Charles Townshend, it passed the Townshend Acts, which imposed taxes on lead, glass, tea, paint, and paper that Americans imported from Britain. In an effort to strengthen its own authority and the power of royal colonial officials, Parliament, at Townshend's request, also created the American Board of Customs Commissioners whose members would strictly enforce the Navigation Acts. Revenue raised by the new tariffs would be used to free royal officials from financial dependence on colonial assemblies, thus further encroaching on colonial autonomy. Once again the colonists protested vigorously. In December 1767,John Dickinson, a Philadelphia lawyer, published 12 popular essays that reiterated the colonists' denial of Parliament's right to tax them and warned of a conspiracy by a corrupt British ministry to enslave Americans. The Sons of Liberty organized protests against customs officials, merchants entered into nonimportation agreements, and the Daughters of Liberty advocated the nonconsumption of products, such as tea, taxed by the Townshend Acts. The Massachusetts legislature sent the other colonies a circular letter condemning the Townshend Acts and calling for a united American resistance. British officials then ordered the dissolution of the Massachusetts General Court if it failed to withdraw its circular letter; the court refused, by a vote of 92 to 17, and was dismissed. The other colonial assemblies, initially reluctant to protest the acts, now defiantly signed the circular letter, outraged at British interference with a colonial legislature.In other ways, British actions again united American protest. The Board of Customs Commissioners extorted money from colonial merchants and usedflimsy...

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