March 22nd, 1765. News spread like wildfire after the colonists heard that the British Parliament had issued a new tax on the American people. Initially passed on February 17th, 1765, the Stamp Tax was not given Royal Assent, or made an official law by the passing of the British Parliament, until March 22nd, 1765. The Stamp Act was put into place by Britain shortly after The Seven Years’ War: a battle between the British and the French over land. After the bitter war left Britain in crippling debt, Parliament needed to find ways to regain financial stability in their country.
They hoped that placing a tax on official documents in the American colonies would eventually produce enough revenue to pay off their war debts. Although the Stamp Act was passed on March 22nd, it was not going to be put into action until November 1st, 1765, giving the colonists a long time to stumble over it and create plans. Many of the American colonists were enraged by the thought of having to pay Britain’s arrears. Conversations in colonial homes about the Stamp Act were very interesting. Many taxes before the Stamp Act only affected a minority of people, such as the Sugar Act.
The Sugar Act was a tax on all imported goods, which mainly had an impact on the merchants. Since this was the first tax to affect all people, countless colonists discussed the wrongness and deceitfulness of it. During these times, colonial homes were full of unsupportive feelings towards the Stamp Act. If the men of the house did not approve of the tax, the woman did not either. Colonial women did not, and could not, declare what they thought was appropriate. Most of the time, the man would complain to his wife while she nodded her head in agreement.
One of the main reasons why the colonists were so upset was because they had no representation in the British Parliament, so they were livid at the thought of being taxed without a say. This also was going against the English Bill of Rights, saying that the English could not be taxed without permission from the Parliament. The taxed items included licenses, newspapers, certificates, diplomas, wills, calendars, almanacs, contracts, liquor, dice, and Bills of Sale. Since it was pretty obvious none of the colonists had any approval for this new tax, multiple things were done to try and prevent it.
With the lengthy seven months before the tax was enforced, colonists started planning their vengeance. They could not start riots yet, as the tax was not going to commence until November 1st, 1765. Every colony had stamp officers, so the colonists found a way to begin rebelling without breaking the law. They decided to go to each of the stamp officers and stress the importance of doing away with the Stamp Act. If the officers refused, the colonists would mob them until they forcefully surrendered. Riots soon began and spread all throughout the colonies: Boston, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and many of the others.
Some colonists hated the idea of the Stamp Act so much they even disrespected their lieutenant-governor and destroyed his household items. These acts were all in advance to the taxing. Once the Stamp Act began, it was a lot worse than one could ever imagine. Along with the rioting and outrageous behavior before the Stamp Act began, new ways to show rebellious attitude appeared. The riots turned into damaging property and mobbings all over the colonies. The people decided to start having meetings, and boycotts.
They wanted the Stamp Act done away with so badly, the colonists even went to the extent where they burned and/or hanged fake dummies that were supposed to resemble Stamp Agents. They would also burn up the paper that the stamps were put on. The colonists would say the unthinkable about the Stamp Agents, and the “saying” soon turned into “doing”. Physical actions were projected against the Stamp Agents, soon creating chaos and hecticness throughout the colonies. Multiple individuals saw this unnecessary pandemonium, and knew that it needed to be stopped. Each colony had colonial agents.
A colonial agent was an official representative arising out of whatever colony they were from. One specific colonial agent, Benjamin Franklin, decided that this ruckus was not needed in the colonies. He spoke in front of the House of Commons, along with many other British merchants, to say that if anymore of the behavior that was occurring continued, the thirteen colonies would basically be the thirteen colonies of chaos. Since the colonists were infuriated about the Stamp Act and became so rebellious, the British were not trading as well as they had before the tax was put on.
After the House of Commons realized that the Stamp Act had done them no good, it was repealed in February 1766. Although the Stamp Act had finally passed, the American colonists were still unsure of Britain’s mindset. The colonists were still upset that Britain could tax them without representation. The British thought that since they repealed the Stamp Act, the colonists would retreat and everything would go back to the way it was, however this was not the case. The colonists held to their belief that it was not right to be taxed without having a say.
This conflict eventually led up to the Revolutionary War, or the American War of Independance. In conclusion, the Stamp Act was a huge dispute during the colonial times because the British taxed the colonists without representation. This led to many riots, violence, and vandalism. The conversations referring to the Stamp Act involved a great deal of complaining and confusion. Once important colonists realized the behavior of their people was not acceptable, they came together as one and persuaded the House of Commons to have the unbearable Stamp Tax repealed. The Stamp Act soon led up to the Revolutionary War, which lasted a long 8 years.