Stamp Act

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Stamp Act,

1765, revenue law passed by the British Parliament during the ministry of George GrenvilleGrenville, George,
1712–70, British statesman, brother of Earl Temple. He entered Parliament in 1741, held several cabinet posts, and in 1763 became chief minister.
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. 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 AdamsAdams, Samuel,
1722–1803, political leader in the American Revolution, signer of the Declaration of Independence, b. Boston, Mass.; second cousin of John Adams. An unsuccessful businessman, he became interested in politics and was a member (1765–74) and clerk
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, Christopher GadsdenGadsden, Christopher
, 1724–1805, American Revolutionary leader, b. Charleston, S.C., educated in England. He returned to Charleston (1746) and became a wealthy merchant.
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, Patrick HenryHenry, Patrick,
1736–99, political leader in the American Revolution, b. Hanover co., Va. Largely self-educated, he became a prominent trial lawyer. Henry bitterly denounced (1765) the Stamp Act and in the years that followed helped fan the fires of revolt in the South.
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, John DickinsonDickinson, John,
1732–1808, American patriot and statesman, b. Talbot co., Md. After studying law in Philadelphia and in London at the Middle Temple, he developed a highly successful practice in Philadelphia.
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, John LambLamb, John,
1735–1800, American Revolutionary leader, b. New York City. Prior to the Revolution he was a leader of the Sons of Liberty in New York and helped form the New York committee of correspondence to coordinate anti-British activity.
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, Joseph WarrenWarren, Joseph,
1741–75, political leader in the American Revolution, b. Roxbury, Mass. A Boston physician, he participated in the agitation against the Stamp Act (1765).
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, and Paul RevereRevere, Paul,
1735–1818, American silversmith and political leader in the American Revolution, b. Boston. In his father's smithy he learned to work gold and silver, and he became a leading silversmith of New England, creating works for customers on both sides of the
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. Associations known as the Sons of LibertySons of Liberty,
secret organizations formed in the American colonies in protest against the Stamp Act (1765). They took their name from a phrase used by Isaac Barré in a speech against the Stamp Act in Parliament, and were organized by merchants, businessmen, lawyers,
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 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 OtisOtis, James,
1725–83, American colonial political leader, b. Barnstable co., Mass. A lawyer first in Plymouth and then in Boston, he won great distinction and served (1756–61) as advocate general of the vice admiralty court.
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, 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).

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Stamp Act

legislative development contributing to American Revolution (1765). [Am. Hist.: Jameson, 475]

Stamp Act

unfair revenue law imposed upon American colonies by Britain (1765). [Am. Hist.: Jameson, 475]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Similarly, in a New York City tavern, some 200 merchants pledged to stop buying anything British until Parliament repealed the Stamp Act. And by one account, Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence in a Philadelphia tavern.
When he testified before the House of Commons and the Rockingham government in 1766 regarding the American position on taxation, Franklin spoke from all three perspectives, and his subtle testimony helped repeal the Stamp Act. Chapter 3, "Achievements and Challenges: The History the Founding Fathers Made" is the longest and, to students of the presidency, most substantial chapter.
The Stamp Act of 1765, for example, required colonists to pay a tax on printed materials like newspapers, magazines, and playing cards.
What has become the oldest continuously published regional morning newspaper in the UK was the brainchild of the Irish-born former Liverpool Chief Constable James Whitty, who had campaigned for the abolition of the Stamp Act under which newspapers were taxed.
In 1765 American merchant drew Oliver (1706-74) was unwittingly made stamp distributor in Boston soon after the unpopular Stamp Act was passed.
The event that evoked the cries of "treason, treason"--and that more than any other guaranteed Patrick Henry's place in the pantheon of American heroes, even more so than his famous "Give me liberty, or give me death" speech a decade later--was his key role in opposing the Stamp Act that played out in the Virginia House of Burgesses in 1765.
Mostly chit funds have been doing this, Dasgupta said, while introducing the amendment to the Indian Stamp Act, 1899, in the assembly that requires the approval of the President.
Immovable property: Amendments in the Stamp Act, 1899 have also been passed in the bill and now the value of immovable property would be calculated according to the valuation table notified by the district collector.
And in March of 1765, Parliament passed the infamous Stamp Act, which placed a tax on virtually all legal and trade instruments, even on newspapers and pamphlets.
These chapters on specific emotions are interspersed with and followed by several that examine emotional exchanges in the rhetoric accompanying key events leading to the Revolution: The Seven Years' War, the Paxton crisis, the Stamp Act resistance, and the Declaration of Independence.
The Stamp Act of 1765 placed an official tax on paper documents.