July 3, 2023


July 2, 2023 (HEATHER COX RICHARDSON, JUL 3, 2023, Letters from an American)

To guard against another expensive war between colonists and Indigenous Americans, the king's ministers and Parliament prohibited colonists from crossing the Appalachians. Then, to replenish the treasury after the last war, they passed a number of revenue laws. In 1765 they enacted the Stamp Act, which placed a tax on printed material in the colonies, everything from legal documents and newspapers to playing cards. 

The Stamp Act shocked colonists, who saw in it a central political struggle that had been going on in England for more than a century: could the king be checked by the people? Colonists were not directly represented in Parliament and believed they were losing their fundamental liberty as Englishmen to have a say in their government. They responded to the Stamp Act with widespread protests. 

In 1766, Parliament repealed the Stamp Act but linked that repeal to the Declaratory Act, which claimed for Parliament "full power and authority to make laws and statutes...to bind the colonies and people of America...in all cases whatsoever." This act echoed the 1719 Irish Declaratory Act, which asserted that Ireland was subordinate to the British king and Parliament. It also imposed new taxes.

As soon as news of the Declaratory Act and the new taxes reached Boston in 1767, the Massachusetts legislature circulated a letter to the other colonies standing firm on the right to equality in the British empire. Local groups boycotted taxed goods and broke into warehouses whose owners they thought were breaking the boycott. In 1768, British officials sent troops to Boston to restore order. 

Instead, King George should have offered us our own Parliament with the Crown as head of state.

Posted by at July 3, 2023 8:01 AM