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Stamp Act

The Stamp Act of March 22, 1765 was a bill passed by the British parliament imposing the first direct tax levied from Great Britain on the American colonies. It met with great displeasure in the colonies and was one of the aggravating factors that promoted colonial separatism[?].

The British government was in severe debt after fighting the Seven Years War. Since much of this war had been fought in North America to protect the colonists, the British leaders decided to force the colonists, who had paid virually no taxes up to that point, to pay for a share of their own defence. The Stamp Act mandated that all printed matter (even playing cards) must bear a government stamp sold by the colonial governors.

The act was widely opposed and disregarded. The leaders in the fight against the Stamp Act were the newspapers, which were naturally adversely affected and had a great deal of power in the colonies. The campaign was quickly successful; the British Parliament removed the Stamp Act on March 18, 1766, but it was only the first of many squabbles over the right of the British parliament to tax the American colonies.



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