The British were pretty harsh on their taxation which will eventually lead up to the American Revolution. We will talk about the Navigation Act, Molasses Act, Sugar Act, Currency Act, Quartering Act, Stamp Act, Declaratory Act, and the Townshend Act.
We’ll start with the Navigation Act in 1651, when Britain restricted the colonists to trade with any colonies other than Britain. Since the colonists earned much more profit by trading with other countries, they got mad. The Navigation Act also declared that the English trade should only be carried in English ships. Then the Navigation Act in 1663 required that all European goods going to America, must pass England first, which increased the cost and time it took the goods to reach the New World.
The Molasses Act of 1733 had a heavy import tax of any sugar coming from the French West Indies going to the American colonies. This act supported the English sugar producers who charged more for their sugar, and since the English weren’t taxed so they would charge whatever price they wanted. But this Act was ignored by the colonists and it changed to bribery or smuggling of officers to deliver the sugar. This act was ended in 1763, but a new act was enacted in 1764 called the Sugar Act.
The Sugar Act was very similar to the Molasses Act, but since the colonists ignored the previous Act by bribery or smuggling, the Parliament halved the tax, but initiated higher enforcement to make sure the taxes were actually collected.
Next we’ll talk about is the Currency Act. The first Currency Act was in 1751, it was supposed to “protect” the interest of British merchants who were being paid the values of British money that were worth a lot less in American money. Then came the Quartering Act.
The Quartering Act of 1765 forced the colonists to provide food and shelter to local soldiers, sure this is fine, but at their own expense meaning not being paid for it, after being taxed and underpaid, this act made the tension between the colonists and Britain.
Soon after the Quartering Act was established, the Stamp Act of 1765 was organized. This Act insisted that all legal documents, newspaper, or pamphlets to be watermarked when printed, so it could be taxed. Out of all the Acts, this one was the most dumb one. It taxed documents and newspaper which mostly affected the lawyers and the press, you see the lawyers can get you in legal trouble and the press has the ability to persuade the public. So this made an outrage, during the same year it was established, two anti-tax groups were organized.
But in 1766 the Declaratory Act revoked the Stamp Act, which was good, but Declaratory Act also stated that the Parliament had the same jurisdiction in America as in Britain, which means they could pass laws or new legal taxes in America.
The last Act we will be talking about is the Townshend Act. Named after a British officer, Charles Townshend, who helped to organize it. This new tax law taxed, tea, glass, lead, paper, and paint, this Act enraged the colonists. Since the taxes that were being collected were being paid to the judges and officials, they didn’t really care for the taxes since they were being paid. So this Act made the colonists rebel, one of the anti groups were called the Sons of Liberty, which will also lead up to the Boston Massacre, also known as the Boston Tea Party.