History - AS - Unit B - American Revolution - Lead up to the War


The Sugar Act

- Passed by Parliament on 5 April 1764.

- Reduced the rate by half from the Molasses Act of 1733 and increased measures to enforce the tax.

- Molasses Tax 1733 was never collected effectively due to colonial evasion.

- Increased the colonists' concerns over the intent of the British Parliament.

- Arrived in the colonies during a time of economic depression.

- Main focus of opposition was economic rather than ideological.

- Two prime movers behind the protests were Samuel Adams and James Otis

- New England ports suffered the most as the stricter enforcement made smuggling more dangerous. Merchants were forced to increase prices and many colonists feared being priced out of the market.

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The Stamp Act

- Passed by Parliament on 22 March 1765

- Imposed a direct tax on the colonies

- Required that printed materials in the colonies should be produced on stamped paper produced in London and carry an embossed revenue stamp.

- 'Printed materials' included legal documents, magazines, playing cards, newspapers and many other types of paper

- The tax was to pay for British troops in the American colonies after the French and Indian War.

- Colonists did not fear a French invasion

- Many considered it a violation of their rights as Englishmen to be taxed without their consent

- The Stamp Act Congress was the first significant joint colonial response to any British measure

- Local protest groups established Committees of Correspondence which created a loose coalition between New England and Maryland

- Protests often initiated by the Sons of Liberty

- Repealed on 18 March 1766

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The Virginia Resolves

- A series of resolutions passed by the Virginia House of Burgesses in response to the Stamp Act 

- Claimed that Virginia could only be taxed by a parliamentary assembly elected by Virginians

- Submitted by Patrick Henry on May 29 1765 after most conservative members were away

- The Newport Mercury was the first newspaper to publish the Virginia Resolved to the general public as several other followed suite

- Directly grew public anger over the Stamp Act and may have incited the Stamp Act Riots


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The Stamp Act Congress

- A meeting held between the 7 and 25 of October, 1765 in New York

- First gathering of elected representatives from several colonies

- Usedto devise a unified protest against British taxation

- Consisted of delegates from 9 of the 18 British colonies in North America

- Met at a tim of widespread protests, some of which were violent, against the Stamp Act 

- Issued a Declaration of Rights and Grievances in which they calimed parliament could not tax the colonies as they did not have proper representation

- 6 delegates signed petitions addressed to parliament and King George III

- Economic issues raised by the protests and ono-importation of British Goods caused parliament to repeal the act

- Passed the Declaratory Act the same day

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The New York Restraining Act

- An act passed on 5 June 1767

- The first of the five Townshend Acts

- Forbade the New York Assembly from passing new bills until they agreed to comply with the Quartering Act 1765

- The Quartering Act required the colonies to provide housing, food and supplies for British troops in America

 New York reluctantly agreed to pay for at least some of the soldiers' needs 

- They feared Parliamentary action

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The Vice Admiralty Court Act

- An act passed by Parliament on 6 July, 1768

- Passed to aid the prosecution of smugglers

- Gave Royal naval courts, over colonial courts, jurisdiction in matters concerning customs violations and smuggling

- Decisions made solely by the judge with no jury option, which was considered a fundamental right of British subjects

- The accused person had to travel to the court of jurisdiction at his own expense (considered automacically guilty if he did no appear)

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