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Lesson One

Reading 1

Stamp Act

Prime Minister George Grenville introduced the Stamp Act as a means of raising revenue in the American colonies.The act required a tax stamp on all legal documents, licenses, contracts, deeds, newspapers, almanacs, pamphlets, playing cards, and dice. In essence the act extended to the colonies stamp duties already employed in Britain. Parliament passed the act in March 1765 to take effect on November 1, 1765. The stamps ranged from a halfpenny to ten pounds.

We Your Majesty’s most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Commons of Great Britain in Parliament assembled, have . . . resolved to give and grant unto Your majesty the several rates and duties hereinafter mentioned; . . . and be it enacted by the King’s most excellent majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords spiritual and temporal, and Commons, in this present parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, that from and after the 1st Day of November, 1765, there shall be raised, levied, collected, and paid unto His majesty, His Heirs, and Successors, throughout the colonies and plantations in America which now are, or hereafter may be, under the dominion of His majesty, His Heirs, and Successors. (Taxes were specified on all legal papers from marriage licenses to land

The Pennsylvania Journal, October 31, 1765 (Library of Congress: LC-USZ62-21637)

In this issue of The Pennsylvania Journal William Bradford included elements (the skull and crossbones motif and “This is the place to Affix the Stamp”) to protest the newspaper stamp required by the Stamp Act.


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