|Newspaper announcement of the Stamp act|
The tax was intended to raise money for troops stationed along the Canadian border after the British victory in the French and Indian War. The government decided to keep troops in the area after the war to prevent having an idle standing army at home. Parliament felt that since colonists would benefit the most from the protective presence of the soldiers, they should pay for the cost.
The colonists strongly opposed the stamp act. Many felt it was a blatant attempt to make money off the colony. Since they had no legal representation in Parliament at the time the act was passed, the colonists argued that the act violated their rights as English citizens by taxing them without their consent. Although the price of the stamps was actually very little, the colonists worried that if they allowed this law to happen, there would be plenty more to follow.
|Reaction against the Stamp Act|
Political groups, such as the Sons of Liberty, held protests that often turned violent and destructive. That summer, the Boston Sons of Liberty, led by Samuel Adams, looted the office and home of tax commissioner Andrew Oliver, burned down his stable along with his coach and chaise, hung an effigy of Oliver from the Liberty tree on Boston common, looted the mansion of the Governor of Massachusetts, Thomas Hutchinson, and tarred and feathered tax collectors.
Sam Adams: Pioneer in Propaganda; John C. Miller; 1936
PBS: The Stamp Act Riots & Tar and Feathering
History.org: Colonial Williamsburg