The Stamp Act Crisis: Prologue to Revolution by Edmund S. MorganIt is often written that the American Revolution had several causes, the predominant instigator being the 1765 Stamp Act, a resolution that levied a tax against the colonies that the Americans found so reprehensible that it spawned the drive towards revolution. Edmund and Helen Morgans The Stamp Act Crisis: Prologue to Revolution is a worthy examination of this critical event that factored so heavily in American history. The Morgans focus the Stamp Acts effects on one specific colony, Massachusetts. Through the events leading to its passage, its aftershocks, and its repeal, we see the journey through the eyes of key men such as Governor Francis Bernard, Pamphleteer Daniel Dulany, and royal stamp customs officers Jared Ingersoll and John Hughes. The book follows a fledging country growing through spasms of confusion, chaos, and violence as it replaces its moderation and humility with a radical level of assertiveness and initiative.
The Stamp Act Crisis serves to tell its story from the city of Boston, the nest egg where much of the conflict revolving around the Stamp Act occurred. Morgan details the fallout from the Stamp Acts passage, from the creation of mobs under the guidance of the political elite, to the character makeup of the mob leaders themselves. The mass chaos and almost complete lack of societal functioning is given its due course. With the Stamp Acts law requiring stamped documents for daily business activities like bills of laden for ships and legal documents for lawyers, the absence of these stamps prevented customs houses from clearing ships or courts from hearing cases. Law and commerce effectively ceased. The building discomfort in Boston, and throughout the colonies, was palpable through Morgans descriptions.
Morgan dedicates individual chapters to examining key players in Boston. Often, portrayals of unpopular figures of the times are kept to a narrow, unrefined assessment. But, Morgan accepts this challenge by consistently viewing the events of the budding revolution through the eyes of these unfortunate men, giving the reader a more unusually balanced perspective.
Using extensive eyewitness accounts from newspapers, journals, letters, and Parliament and legislative sessions, Morgans book immerses the reader into the historic events of the 1760s. The book is not for the novice, its narrative quickly jumping into the intrigue and difficulties of colonial America. It does not dwell on exploring the difficulties of the early 1760s other than to briefly discuss the complexities of the Sugar Act. There is no bombast of the Boston Tea party or the coming battles of the Revolution and while the narrative is not engaging like a good novel, there are sparks of intuitive analysis that make you nod your approval as you watch the events of history unfold.
The Stamp Act Congress Explained: US History Review
Up until the attempt to collect the Stamp duty colonists had accepted minor duties on trade such as the , and even the. Colonists were careful to draw distinction between internal and external taxes. Internal taxes were those imposed by the provincial government, members of which were elected by residents, ….
Edmund S. Morgan
Stamp Act 1765
On March 18, , exactly years ago, after four months of widespread protest in America, the British Parliament repealed the Stamp Act, a taxation measure enacted to raise revenues for a standing British army in America. The Stamp Act was passed on March 22, , leading to an uproar in the colonies over an issue that was to be a major cause of the Revolution: Taxation without representation. Enacted in November , the controversial act forced colonists to buy a British stamp for every official document they obtained. Paper materials requiring the stamp included newspapers, pamphlets, legal documents, licenses, mortgages, contracts, and bills of sale. A stamp would be embossed on these papers to indicate payment. The colonists, who had convened the Stamp Act Congress in October to vocalize their opposition to the impending enactment, greeted the arrival of the stamps with outrage and violence. Most Americans called for a boycott of British goods, and some organized attacks on the customhouses and homes of tax collectors.
The Stamp Act of was the first internal tax levied directly on American colonists by the British Parliament. The issues raised by the Stamp.
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The American Revolution - OverSimplified (Part 1)
After four months of widespread protest in America, the British Parliament repeals the Stamp Act , a taxation measure enacted to raise revenues for a standing British army in America. The Stamp Act was passed on March 22, , leading to an uproar in the colonies over an issue that was to be a major cause of the Revolution: taxation without representation. Enacted in November , the controversial act forced colonists to buy a British stamp for every official document they obtained. The colonists, who had convened the Stamp Act Congress in October to vocalize their opposition to the impending enactment, greeted the arrival of the stamps with outrage and violence. Most Americans called for a boycott of British goods, and some organized attacks on the customhouses and homes of tax collectors. However, the same day, Parliament passed the Declaratory Acts, asserting that the British government had free and total legislative power over the colonies.
The Stamp Act of was the first internal tax levied directly on American colonists by the British Parliament. Arguing that only their own representative assemblies could tax them, the colonists insisted that the act was unconstitutional, and they resorted to mob violence to intimidate stamp collectors into resigning. The issues of taxation and representation raised by the Stamp Act strained relations with the colonies to the point that, 10 years later, the colonists rose in armed rebellion against the British. Part of the revenue from the Stamp Act would be used to maintain several regiments of British soldiers in North America to maintain peace between Native Americans and the colonists. Moreover, since colonial juries had proven notoriously reluctant to find smugglers guilty of their crimes, violators of the Stamp Act could be tried and convicted without juries in the vice-admiralty courts. Victory in the war, however, had saddled the British Empire with a tremendous debt. Britain had long regulated colonial trade through a system of restrictions and duties on imports and exports.
Where are you on the Gilder Lehrman Institute timeline? Are you a teacher or a student? New content is added regularly to the website, including online exhibitions , videos , lesson plans, and issues of the online journal History Now, which features essays by leading scholars on major topics in American history. The act required the colonists to pay a tax, represented by a stamp, on various forms of papers, documents, and playing cards. It was a direct tax imposed by the British government, without the approval of the colonial legislatures and was payable in hard-to-obtain British sterling, rather than colonial currency.