What Are Some Historical Facts About the Stamp Act?


Quick Answer

The Stamp Act of 1765 was notable for being the first internal tax levied against American colonists by the British government. It required printers to use special stamped paper when producing official documents, newspapers and even playing cards. Britain levied the Stamp Act to pay for the upkeep of British troops in the colonies after the events of the Seven Years' War and French and Indian War.

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Full Answer

The Stamp Act proved to be one of the instigating events of the American Revolution. At the time, American colonists had no say in the British government but were forced to abide by laws and regulations handed down from the mother country. Protesters against the Stamp Act began using the phrase, "No taxation without representation," a slogan that became one of the defining phrases of American independence from Britain. The Act, and others like it, were referenced in the "Indictments Against George III" section of the Declaration of the Independence.

Secretive protest groups organized under the banner of the Sons of Liberty, and demonstrations against the Stamp Act often turned violent. Eventually, all the stamp distributors in the colonies resigned their commissions out of fear of reprisal, effectively ending enforcement of the Act. In March 1766, the British parliament repealed the Stamp Act, although it continued to assert authority to legislate for the colonies and introduced more new taxes.

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