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The History of American Colonialism and Taxation

Some might say that America exists because a group of colonists objected to taxation. Taxes are paid to a ruling class, whether that's a king, federal government, state government, or local government. Taxes are meant to be used to pay for things that are useful to the public, like safe roads, a strong military, and libraries. The United States of America exists today because colonists from England demanded freedom from their home country, and a lot of why they were angry came down to taxes. They felt that they were taxed too much for what they got in return from the British government. In fact, one of the most famous quotes associated with the founding of the United States is, "No taxation without representation!"

The Sugar Act and the Stamp Act

The Sugar Act of 1764 was passed by the British Parliament to raise money from the colonies by taxing American imports of sugar and molasses from non-British sources. It was a win-win situation for the British government; either they'd get more tax money from Americans or British sugarcane farmers would get more business. The Americans didn't like this law, but they liked the next one even less: In 1765, the Stamp Act put a tax on any printed material, including newspapers, property deeds, college degrees, and even decks of playing cards. All of these things would need to have a stamp put on them to show that the tax had been paid. The tax money would go directly to the British government.

The Quartering Act

The Quartering Act commanded American colonists to build barracks for British soldiers and even invite them into their own homes for lodging if it was needed. The colonists weren't happy with this new law at all. Barracks are expensive to build, and no one wants strangers living in their home. The barracks are an example of something the taxes paid on stamps and sugar could have been used to build.

The Currency Act

When Britain passed the Currency Act, colonies were forbidden from printing their own paper money, and the colonial money already circulating was declared worthless. But the colonies didn't have enough British currency, leaving a lot of colonists short on cash to work with: There just wasn't enough money to move around between buyers and sellers.

The Boston Tea Party

The Tea Act guaranteed that all tea in the colonies would be bought and sold through the British East India Company. This made tea an expensive asset to buy in America and impossible to sell. The decision was the final straw in a pile of harsher and harsher taxation measures. Several Americans snuck onto an East India Company ship in Boston Harbor and threw all of the tea chests into the water in protest. This act of rebellion was a spark that helped to ignite the American Revolution.

Rebellion History and the Beginning of the Revolutionary War

The British tax policy pushed America to war against the empire. The colonists fought for freedom from the British government's taxes, which they thought would destroy their attempts to build cities and thrive. The slogan "No taxation without representation" began after the Sugar Act: If people had to pay so many taxes, they at least wanted more in return from their government. As it was, they didn't even have any seats in the English Parliament: They had nobody representing them in the British government. The British government ignored the Americans, and tensions boiled over into war. The Americans wrote a Declaration of Independence and severed ties with the British government, and they would go on to form their own system of government, which included fair taxation and representation policies.

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