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Unit 3

3.3 Taxation without Representation

2 min readmay 29, 2020

James Glackin


British Laws and Policies

To raise revenue, the British Parliament created the Sugar Act (1764), the first taxing law that made colonists pay taxes on imported sugar. The Quartering Act, one year later, required the colonists to feed and house British soldiers. The Stamp Act of 1765 was the law that colonists hated the most. It required the colonists to purchase stamps for bills, newspapers, pamphlets, and other business and legal documents.  
However, the tax that truly angered the colonists was the Townshend Tea Tax of 1767. It taxed several items, including tea. Many colonists loved this drink. Additionally, the revenues from this tax would help pay the despised British government officials within the colonies.  

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Colonial Reactions

https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2FPhilip_Dawe_attributed_The_Bostonians_Paying_the_Excise-man_or_Tarring_and_Feathering_1774.jpg?alt=media&token=c6595534-dc5c-4e0e-a51d-88c2f8d98713

Violent protest by groups like the Sons of Liberty created quite a stir both in the colonies and in England itself. While extreme acts like the tarring and feathering of Boston’s Commissioner of Customs in 1774 propagated more protest against symbols of Parliament’s tyranny throughout the colonies, violent demonstrations were regarded as acts of terrorism by British officials. This print of the 1774 event was from the British perspective, picturing the Sons as brutal instigators with almost demonic smiles on their faces as they enacted this excruciating punishment on the Custom Commissioner. Philip Dawe (attributed), “The Bostonians Paying the Excise-man, or Tarring and Feathering,” Wikimedia.

“No taxation without representation” cries began after the hated Stamp Tax. The colonists despised the idea that a distant Parliament could tax them while feeling that only their colonial legislatures were able to tax them. The colonists created the Stamp Act Congress of 1765, which demanded the king repeal the tax. Parliament eventually did just that.  
🎥 Watch: AP US History - The American Revolution
A handy colonial protest tool was the nonimportation agreement. Imported goods, such as British wool and linen, would be boycotted. Groups such as the Sons of Liberty would enforce these boycotts. This same group would stage the most profound protest in Boston’s harbor by destroying 342 chests of tea shipped by the mighty British East India Company. The Boston Tea Party caused the Parliament to punish Boston and the colony of Massachusetts severely.
Finally, the reaction of Parliament caused a response by the colonists. Most of the colonies decided to meet in Philadelphia in 1774 as part of the First Continental Congress. Here, the colonists discussed ways to solve their grievances and petitioned Parliament.

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