Preliminaries of the Revolution, 1763-1775

By George Elliott Howard | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VIII
AMERICA'S RESPONSE TO THE STAMP ACT (1765)

THE effect of the passage of the Stamp Act soon revealed how fatally the ministry even the colonial agents had misjudged the temper of the American people. The spontaneous forandmation of parties, begun two years before,1 now made rapid progress. The party of resistance, the patriots, were called Whigs; the party of submission, Hutchinson says, as early as 1763 were branded as Tories. The former, more numerous and aggressive, succeeded eventually in uniting all the provinces, from New Hampshire to Georgia, in common opposition to the new tax.

There was, however, a period of suspense. For some time after it was known that the bill had become a law the colonists paused as if weighing the tremendous responsibility of defying the jurisdiction of Parliament. To many of the leaders it seemed inevitable that the act would be enforced. Five weeks after news of its passage Hutchinson wrote to

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1
Hutchinson, Hist. of Mass. Bay, 111., 103.

-140-

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