Stamp Act of 1765

Stamp Act

Stamp Act, 1765, revenue law passed by the British Parliament during the ministry of George Grenville. The first direct tax to be levied on the American colonies, it required that all newspapers, pamphlets, legal documents, commercial bills, advertisements, and other papers issued in the colonies bear a stamp. The revenue obtained from the sale of stamps was designated for colonial defense; while the means of raising revenue was novel, the application of such revenue to defense continued existing British policy.

The act was vehemently denounced in the colonies by those it most affected: businessmen, merchants, journalists, lawyers, and other powerful persons. Among these were Samuel Adams, Christopher Gadsden, Patrick Henry, John Dickinson, John Lamb, Joseph Warren, and Paul Revere. Associations known as the Sons of Liberty were formed to organize opposition to the Stamp Act. Merchants boycotted English goods; stamp distributors were forced to resign and stamps were destroyed; and the Massachusetts legislature, at the suggestion of James Otis, issued a call for a general congress to find means of resisting the law.

The Stamp Act Congress, which met in Oct., 1765, in New York City, included delegates from New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Delaware, South Carolina, Maryland, and Connecticut. The congress adopted the Declaration of Rights and Grievances; it declared that freeborn Englishmen could not be taxed without their consent, and, since the colonists were not represented in Parliament, any tax imposed on them without the consent of their colonial legislatures was unconstitutional. Faced with a loss of trade, Parliament repealed the Stamp Act in 1766.

See J. L. Bullion, A Great and Necessary Measure: George Grenville and the Genesis of the Stamp Act (1983); E. S. and H. M. Morgan, The Stamp Act Crisis (rev. ed. 1983).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

Stamp Act of 1765: Selected full-text books and articles

The Stamp Act Crisis: Prologue to Revolution By Edmund S. Morgan; Helen M. Morgan University of North Carolina Press, 1995
Events That Changed America in the Eighteenth Century By John E. Findling; Frank W. Thackeray Greenwood Press, 1998
Debating the Issues in Colonial Newspapers: Primary Documents on Events of the Period By David A. Copeland Greenwood Press, 2000
PRIMARY SOURCE
A primary source is a work that is being studied, or that provides first-hand or direct evidence on a topic. Common types of primary sources include works of literature, historical documents, original philosophical writings, and religious texts.
The Boisterous Sea of Liberty: A Documentary History of America from Discovery through the Civil War By David Brion Davis; Steven Mintz Oxford University Press, 1998
PRIMARY SOURCE
A primary source is a work that is being studied, or that provides first-hand or direct evidence on a topic. Common types of primary sources include works of literature, historical documents, original philosophical writings, and religious texts.
Daily Life during the American Revolution By Dorothy Denneen Volo; James M. Volo Greenwood Press, 2003
A College History of the United States By David Burner; Elizabeth Fox-Genovese; Virginia Bernhard Brandywine Press, 1991
Accounting for the Stamp Act Crisis By Oats, Lynne; Sadler, Pauline Accounting Historians Journal, Vol. 35, No. 2, December 2008
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
The Colonial Virginia Press and the Stamp Act: An Expansion of Civic Discourse By Mellen, Roger P Journalism History, Vol. 38, No. 2, Summer 2012
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
The Hidden History of the Stamp Act By Holton, Woody Humanities, Vol. 36, No. 4, July/August 2015
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