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What The Stamp Act Really Meant

2107 words - 8 pages

The central thesis of my paper is the Stamp Act and how it was brought about and what it meant to the American Colonies. As well as why it was necessary. February 6th, 1765 George Grenville came forth in Parliament to propose his Stamp Bill. Not knowing that it would forever be a significant part of history. The Act was a tax on every piece of printed paper the colony used. Including, legal documents, licenses, and even playing cards. The tax also had to be paid with British currency. Colonial paper money was not valid. This made it more difficult for the colonists to even pay the tax.
The actual cost of the Stamp Act was pretty small in fact. However it was the principle that upset the colonists. The way the British saw it was that it was essentially the colonists paying the British back for defending the American frontier near the Appalachian Mountains. Some would argue that the British National debt was already through the roof but the war against France and the Indians did not help the debt. Because of this the Stamp Act was created and passed.
Colonists believed that if they let the British tax them without putting up some kind of fight, that it would only open the door for the British to continue taxing them for the sake of raising money rather than to regulate commerce. Especially considering that the Sugar Act was passed just one year earlier. What is interesting is that English citizens were being taxed at an even greater rate than the colonists. The difference is that American colonists were not used to it so it came as a big deal to them. The colonists felt like they were barely involved in the British decision making about the Stamp Act. They barely considered themselves British subjects and now they have to pay taxes to them.
The only alternative Great Britain had was to allow them to come up with the money on their own some other way. Except this method had never worked before and Great Britain had already had success with the Stamp Act method in Great Britain. So it made more sense to them to impose the Stamp Act. However it did not make much sense to the colonists because they argued that their rights as Englishmen were being taken away because they were being taxed without representation. Benjamin Franklin said it best when he said "That it is suppos’d an undoubted Right of Englishmen not to be taxed but by their own Consent given thro’ their Representatives. That the Colonies have no Representatives in Parliament." Patrick Henry is quoted as saying that the Stamp Act was the very beginning of the Revolutionary war.
Patrick Henry was one of the first colonists to openly attack the Stamp Act, he compared George III to Julius Caesar as well as Charles I. Patrick Henry was opposed to the Stamp Act as soon as it was passed. He wrote seven resolutions for the Stamp Act all of which were very radical. These resolutions were published throughout the colonies. These resolutions really started the talk of independence from Great...

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