Imperial Crisis 1: The Stamp Act Monday 9/7/09 History 111B IMPERIAL CRISIS I: THE STAMP ACT I. The financial situation of the southern gentry: A. British mercantilism -Exploited the American colonists. B. The Navigation Acts -Forbade the colonies from trading with any other nations besides Britain. Goods like tobacco, naval stores (tar, pitch, turpentine), and other raw materials could be shipped only to Britain, no foreign markets. The British merchants made a huge profit then selling colonial items around the world. The trading vessels used by the American colonists had to be British made as well. The Navigation Acts were a massive inconvenience to the colonists. By 1774, the colonists owed the British 6 million pounds of sterling. The gentry?s insecurity and anxiousness over debts was a leading part of the Revolution. C. Limits on land speculation II. Britain taxes the colonies A. Changes in the British ministry -John Stuart, Third Earl of Bute, Lord Bute was the Prime Minister of Britain from 1762 to 1763. In an attempt to pay for the Seven Years? War, Lord Bute placed a tax on cider in the colonies (repealed in 1763). The colonists were infuriated and Lord Bute was hated. Lord Bute was replaced by George Grenville. B. The Revenue (Sugar) Act (1764) -Grenville tightened up the customs service to raise money. Grenville made the customs officers do their jobs and wanted the 1773 Molasses Act to be imposed on all molasses imported into the colonies that wasn?t from Britain. The Revenue Act changed colonial courts. C. Currency Act (1764) -Prohibited the colonists from issuing paper money that could be used for payments for debts and taxes. D. The Stamp Act (1765) -This Act escalated imperial relations to a crisis level. The Act imposed a tax on the stamps that had to be used on legal documents, including newspapers, diplomas, advertisements, deeds, playing cards, dice, ships papers, licenses, etc. Grenville announces the Act in 1764 and it was scheduled to go into effect in December of 1765. Grenville was now seen as just as bad as Lord Bute. III. Colonial responses to the Revenue Act A. Nonimportation -Colonists turned to home manufacturers, not foreign suppliers. They tried to deter the British from enforcing the dreaded taxes by deeply hurting the British export funds. Made it acceptable for the upperclass not to buy extravagant goods. B. Home manufactures -. Colonists began making their own clothes and spinning their own wool. IV. Colonial Responses to the Stamp Act A. The Virginia Resolves (May 1765) -Sparked by Patrick Henry, the VA House of Burgesses passed the Resolves which stated the House of Burgesses had the sole right to collect debts from its inhabitants, not the British Parliament. It also said that any foreign nation who imposed taxes on the colonies, would be considered an enemy to the Americans?. The Resolves were printed in newspapers all over. Colonial assemblies everywhere began adopting the Resolves policies. The Boston Caucus was led by Samuel Adams, the ?Boston Nine,? met to figure out ways to control the city of Boston. B. Riots and the Sons of Liberty -Guy Fox day (Fox wanted to blow up Parliament with gunpowder in the early 1600?s), Pope?s Day, was celebrated in Boston each year with an annual fight. An effigy of the town stamp master, Oliver, was put up on a tree and the mob who hung it up, went to the master?s house and destroyed many of his properties. The mob then decapitated the effigy and destroyed it in front of Oliver?s home and Oliver resigned shortly after. The mobs continued to destroy buildings though, including the house of Thomas Hutchinson. A common colonial characteristic was radical crowd, who destroyed properties, conservative leaders. On numerous occasions, mobs forced stamp masters out of their post through forceful means. -The Sons of Liberty grew out of the ?Boston Nine.? C. Theories of representation: virtual v. actual -Because the American colonists did not have actual representation in Parliament, they felt they shouldn?t have to pay the British taxes enforced on them. Grenville and Parliament believed that since the British soldiers and other British people in the colonies weren?t actually receiving representation, it wasn?t a valid argument by the American colonists. Both groups were receiving ?virtual? representation as opposed to ?actual? representation. D. The Stamp Act Congress (New York, October 1765) -Convened in NY. Impulse to do so was triggered by MA and Boston colonists. The impulse coordinated action in the MA government who sent out word to other colonies to set up some kind of Congress. 9 colonies met for 12 days. Thirteen declarations were created. Declaration 3 said that the Americans should not be subjected to taxes from a foreign power, where they receive no representation. Declaration 9 stated that the American colonists could not be represented in Parliament. When the Stamp Act finally was issued, American?s did everything to avoid the use of it. Even when it was necessary to use stamped paper, Americans still refused to. In 1766, Britain repealed the tax. V. The Declaratory Act: Parliament reaffirms its domain -Parliament reaffirmed its domain over the colonies by stating that it had the power to tax and do whatever else it pleased to the American colonies.
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