Q:

Why did the British tax the American colonists?

A:

Quick Answer

The British taxed the colonies to get out of debt. Laws could be imposed on the American colonies, which were under British rule, without legal objection since the colonies had no representation in Parliament. The British also had control of the sea, which meant that the colonists could not trade with other nations without England's approval.

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Full Answer

The British drained its treasury through military endeavors in the mid-18th century. It was left with a lot of debts and no money to pay them. Although the colonists were already taxed on the goods they shipped, England had been somewhat lax in collecting the taxes. The purse strings were tightened, and the taxes were strictly enforced. Once Britain released the significant increase in revenue as the result of enforcing tax laws against the colonies, it began to see them as an income source. In 1764, Parliament also passed a law that forbade the production of currency in the colonies. From then on, all taxes to England were to be paid in pounds. Currency unique to the colonies had been circulating through the colonies for some time, and many colonists did not have sufficient currency in pounds to pay taxes. England added insult to injury, however, by passing the Stamp Act. The Stamp Act required all legal documents to be sealed with a special stamp that the colonists were forced to purchase. Ultimately, the colonists united over being taxed without having a voice in Parliament, which led to the Revolutionary War.

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