Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Stamp Act Of 1765

Not too long ago, I heard about The Stamp Act Of 1765 on a local news report.  What in the world is this anyway?

The Stamp Act Of 1765 imposed a direct tax by the British Parliament specifically on the colonies of British America.  This tax required that many printed materials in the colonies be produced on stamped paper produced in London, which carried an embossed revenue stamp.

These printed materials were legal documents, magazines, playing cards, newspapers and many other types of paper used throughout the colonies. Like the previous taxes implemented, the stamp tax had to be paid in valid British currency, not in colonial paper money.  The reason that they didn’t want the colonial paper money was that it was known as “bills of credit” and could not be exchanges for gold or silver on demand.

But why did the British Parliament impose this act?

In short, The British victory in French and Indian War had been won only at a great financial cost. During the war, the British national debt nearly doubled.  They needed to raise money to help pay for the war that just ended and to pay for the soldiers that they had stationed in British America.

When April 1764 rolled around, Parliament announced when the Sugar Act was passed that they would also consider a stamp tax in the colonies (the Stamp Act passed 205–49 in the House of Commons and unanimously in the House of Lords).

So the money that was raised from this tax was earmarked to pay for British soldiers to protect the American colonies.

There was an eventual problem that the British Parliament crop up on them—the military rebellion of the original 13 colonies of the United States of America (one of the reasons the Revolutionary War was held was that America thought taxes like this one were unlawful).

The paper that is from this time is still very collectible, especially with the stamp still intact.  For a gift idea, you can look for pamphlets with the stamp for the paper lover or (even legal documents).

Have you come across one of these documents?

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