American History AP9/7/03 Document-Based QuestionIn 1765 the British government imposed a new taxation on the coloniesknown as the Stamp Act. It called for colonials to be taxed for goods suchas playing cards, news papers, marriage documents, and diplomas, in orderto fund their supposed protection.
Although British citizens were taxedmuch more for the protection of the colonies, Americans demanded that theynot be taxed at all without representation in the parliament. The phrase”no taxation without representation” soon became a motivating force of theAmerican Revolution and of a symbol of democracy.At first these words were nothing more than an excuse not to paytaxes. Actually the colonies were not striving for a seat in theparliament, knowing that they would be taxed for more than the position wasworth to them. Instead they were looking for a way to get around thetaxation and maybe even an excuse to rebel.
This is evidenced in Document Bwhich states the Stamp Act Congress in 1765, concluded that the coloniesshould not be represented in parliament, but should not be taxed either.The colonies did not push for total freedom yet. Daniel Dulany statesthat the British still should have the right to regulate the colonies’trade, which was perhaps a greater problem to the colonies’ economy thanthe tax was. However, the colonists did not have a constitutional rightthat prevented trade-control as they did with taxation.The so-called “protection” the colonies, as well as the Britishcitizens were taxed for was a garrison of British solders to be stationedin the colonies.
The fact that they were being stationed there at peacetimearoused many suspicions about the real intention of the troops stationedthere. Joseph Warren suggested in a speech he delivered in Boston, that thearmy was there to keep the colonists under their watch, and enforceobedience.In the Second continental congress held in 1775, reasons were listedfor the necessity for the colonists to go to war with the British. Thereasons included using the colonists’ money without their consent,depriving them of a trial by jury, controlling and limiting their trade,and exempting murderers of colonists from trial. Americans such as ThomasPaine also thought it strange that a continent as large as America wascontrolled by the small island of Great Britain.In time the demand for no taxation without representation became asymbol of democracy.
For example, in a 1780 petition of free Negroes forthe right to vote, they compared their situation to that of America’s. Justlike America was taxed by England without representation in theirparliament, freed blacks were being taxed without the right to vote. Theircomparison shows how the demand that started the American Revolution isalso a symbol of many American ideals.The Americans reaction to the Stamp Act was in 1765 was a greatturning point in the history of the colonies, and the very idea that wasused to drive the revolution. Although colonists were treated unfairly thiswas the only way in which they were treated unconstitutionally and theyused it to justify a rebellion against their mother country.