How Did the Colonists React to the Stamp Act?
Colonists reacted to the Stamp Act of 1765 by vocalizing their dissent in assemblies, newspapers and the Stamp Act Congress, which drafted a document called the Stamp Act Resolves. Additionally, violent protesters threatened stamp distributors, forcing them to resign their commissions, and mobs prevented stamp papers from entering the country.
The British Parliament enacted the Stamp Act to help pay for the Seven Years War with France, through which Britain gained possession of North America. Although Americans had paid duties on imports and exports in the past, the tax stamps on newspapers, pamphlets, deeds, wills and playing cards were the first direct taxes imposed upon the colonists. They objected to taxation without the right to vote for their representatives in Parliament and declared that only their own assemblies should have the power to tax them.
In Boston, colonists who dubbed themselves the Sons of Liberty hanged the local stamp distributor in effigy and then destroyed his home and property. Rhode Island crowds also hanged stamp distributors in effigy. In other colonies, protesters took to the streets in demonstrations. Eventually, the British Parliament repealed the Stamp Act but at the same time passed the Declaratory Act affirming its right to pass any necessary legislation over the colonists. American grievances against the Stamp Act remained unresolved until the Revolutionary War and the independence of the United States.