The Stamp Act

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It feels terrible to find your superior exercising power over you even when you are not in their jurisdiction. Sometimes one may have waited for that freedom to express some self-ruling only to find them reaching out to rule them from a distance. This was the same feeling that the colonists had when the British exercised power over them in the American colonies all the way from Britain. The climax reached when these British powers started expecting taxes and other contributions from these colonists as if they were meant to be paying tributes (Knollenberg). Although there are many rising arguments as to whether the British were supposed to enact power over the colonialists, I firmly believe that there was no breach of jurisdiction by interfering with the rules in the American colonies.

British perspective

The Declaratory Act of 1766 is one of the prominent Acts made in the parliament of Great Britain, and it stated that parliament’s authority was the same regardless of the location of enacting of the laws, and hence they had the power to pass legislations that were binding to American colonies (Temperley and William). I feel that this law was made in the proper way since going by the statistics, it would be unfair if the law were otherwise. When the colonists left the country, they carried a lot of wealth to go and invest in their new colonies, and this made the resident Britons who were left to be taxed averagely 25% of their earnings. The colonialists, who even benefited directly from these colonies, only paid a wage of roughly 1% of the total salary (Temperley and William).

There were many debts left for the government of Britain, following the extensive exploration and the military forces, and they surely needed to recover. One of these masses of debts occurred after the French and Indian Wars (Temperley and William). These were wars that were meant to secure a place for the colonists in America and luckily for them, they succeeded but left their mother-country wounded with debts. It is therefore very unfair for them to say that they would not participate in healing her by saying they were not comfortable with paying taxes.

American perspective

To end the so-called increased tyranny of the British rule on the colonies, the colonists came up with the Stamp Act, which was an enforcement of the participation of the American colonies in the lawmaking process. One of the declarations made by the Stamp Act is the fact that the territories could not from their local situations be represented in the house of commons back in Great-Britain (Thomas and David). This was important as it protected the Americans from being exposed to adverse circumstances by their ‘bosses’ back in Britain. Some people are always happy when instigating war, especially if they are not going to be part of the fight. Other similar Acts that were passed had the effect of invading the privacy of the typical American and also infringing some of their rights. If the Britons were allowed to make laws on behalf of the colonists in America, they might not have been considerate or human enough in the decisions since very few of them were involved in the war anyway. Similarly, I feel that if the decision on the taxation would have been made by the parliamentarians in Britain without the knowledge or consultation of the American colonists, they would not mind the struggles that the colonists would have to go through to get to that point and oppression would be evident.

Works Cited

Knollenberg, Bernhard. Origin of the American Revolution: 1759-1966. Macmillan, 1960.

Temperley, Harold William Vazeille. “Debates on the Declaratory Act and the Repeal of the Stamp Act, 1766.”The American Historical Review 17.3 (1912): 563-586.

Thomas, Peter David Garner. British Politics and the Stamp Act Crisis: The First Phase of the American Revolution 1763-1767. Oxford; New York: Clarendon Press, 1975.

November 24, 2023


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American History

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