- The "Declaratory Act" may also refer to the Dependency of Ireland on Great Britain Act 1719.
The Declaratory Act (short title 6 George III, c. 12), was an Act of the Parliament of Great Britain in 1766, during America's colonial period; one of a series of resolutions passed attempting to regulate the behavior of the colonies. It stated that Parliament had the right to make laws for the colonies in all matters.
American rebels had organized the Stamp Act Congress
in response to the Stamp Act of 1765
which called into question the right of a distant power to tax them without proper representation. Thus Parliament was faced with colonies who refused to comply with their act. The repealing of the Stamp Act came about due to a number of reasons, one of which was the protestations that had occurred in the colonies. Perhaps more important though were the protests that arose in Great Britain from the manufacturers who were suffering from the colonies' non-importation agreement. Normally the economic activity in the colonies wouldn't have caused such an outcry, but the English economy was still suffering from its post-war depression from the French and Indian War
. Another reason that the Stamp Act was repealed was the fact that George Grenville
, the Prime Minister who had enacted the Stamp Acts, had been replaced by Rockingham
. Rockingham was more favourable towards the colonies, and furthermore he was rather antagonistic to any policy that Grenville had enacted. Rockingham invited Benjamin Franklin
to speak to Parliament about colonial policy, and he portrayed the colonists as in opposition to internal taxes (which were derived from internal colonial transactions) like the Stamp Act called for, but not external taxes (which were duties laid on imported commodities). Parliament then agreed to repeal the Stamp Act on the condition that the Declaratory Act was passed. On March 18, 1766, Parliament repealed the Stamp Act and passed the Declaratory Act.
In other words, the Declaratory Act of 1766 allowed Parliament to make laws and changes to the colonial government.