When reenacting or acting as a historical interpreter, its good to have a few historical dates and stories to share. This series will publish a few.
March 22, 1765 STAMP ACT
The Stamp Act of 1765 was the first internal tax levied directly on American colonists by the British Parliament. The act, which imposed a tax on all paper documents in the colonies, came at a time when the British Empire was deep in debt from the Seven Years’ War (1756-63) and looking to its North American colonies as a revenue source.
Arguing that only their own representative assemblies could tax them, the colonists insisted that the act was unconstitutional, and they resorted to mob violence to intimidate stamp collectors into resigning. Parliament passed the Stamp Act on March 22, 1765 and repealed it in 1766, but issued a Declaratory Act at the same time to reaffirm its authority to pass any colonial legislation it saw fit. The issues of taxation and representation raised by the Stamp Act strained relations with the colonies to the point that, 10 years later, the colonists rose in armed rebellion against the British.
This new tax was imposed on all American colonists and required them to pay a tax on every piece of printed paper they used. Ship’s papers, legal documents, licenses, newspapers, other publications, and even playing cards were taxed.
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