The Stamp Act On View at the New-York Historical Society
Such a little thing. Requiring official stamps on newspapers, legal documents, dice, and playing cards brought £100,000 into the British treasury every year – and cost almost nothing to administer. Half that amount, collected in the colonies, would help pay the cost of a 10,000-man British army stationed in the newly acquired territories of Quebec and Upper Canada.

News of the Stamp Act’s passage in 1765 ignited a firestorm in the thirteen British colonies from New Hampshire to Georgia, though not in Quebec, Nova Scotia, or Britain’s Caribbean domains.

The tax burden was not the issue for American protestors. Such a direct tax and the provisions for its enforcement, they claimed, endangered the right of colonial assemblies to raise their own taxes; denied the right to trial by jury; weakened colonial presses by increasing newspaper prices; and drained already low supplies of precious coins.

A tax to pay for a standing army in their own midst? Not a good idea.

See the Stamp Act on view in Revolution! The Atlantic World Reborn at the New-York Historical Society now through April 15, 2012
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