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Stamp Act

 Related Terms

• 13 Colonies
• 
American Revolution
• 
Sons of Liberty
• 
Sugar Act
• 
Tea Act
• 
Townshend Acts
• 
Intolerable Acts
• 
King George III
• 
George Grenville
• 
Lord North

 

Definition: First direct British tax on American colonists. Instituted in November, 1765. Every newspaper, pamphlet, and other public and legal document had to have a Stamp, or British seal, on it. The Stamp, of course, cost money. The colonists didn't think they should have to pay for something they had been doing for free for many years, and they responded in force, with demonstrations and even with a diplomatic body called the Stamp Act Congress, which delivered its answer to the Crown. Seeing the hostile reaction in the colonies, the British government repealed the Stamp Act in March 1766 but at the same time passed the Declaratory Act, which said that Great Britain was superior (and boss of) the American colonies "in all cases whatsoever." The Stamp Act gave the colonists a target for their rage. Indeed, the Sons of Liberty was formed in response to this Act. The Stamp Act Congress also gave the colonists a model for the Continental Congress.

Related Resources:
Colonial America
The backdrop to the story.

Elsewhere on the Web:
More on the Stamp Act
Find out more about the paper tax that got the colonists so upset.

Resolutions of the Stamp Act
Read for yourself how Great Britain tried to unfairly tax the American colonists.

The Declaration of Rights of the Stamp Act Congress
Read for yourself how the American colonists responded.

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