One of the most famous revolutions in history, the American Revolution (1775-1783) was the political upheaval in which 13 distinct colonies in North America banded together to cast off British rule, forming the United States of America.
But what brought about the Revolution? The trouble began after the Seven Years War between France and Great Britain. Though the British Empire emerged victorious, the empire had to finance the long and costly fighting. One of the ways they did this was with the Stamp Act of 1765, taxing stamps to raise revenue. The act required that many printed materials in the colonies be produced on stamped paper produced in London, carrying an embossed revenue stamp. These printed materials were legal documents, magazines, newspapers and many other types of paper used throughout the colonies. Like previous taxes, the stamp tax had to be paid in valid British currency, not in colonial paper money. The British government felt that the colonies were the primary beneficiaries of the Seven Years War and should pay at least a portion of the expense.
The Act was incredibly unpopular in the colonies, primarily because they felt they were not fairly or adequately represented in Parliament. And the Stamp Act would be just one of many Acts passed by the Parliament that would pave the way for the Revolution that began in 1775. In fact, the British would repeal the Stamp Act the following year, but the damage was already done and the road to Revolution had begun.
This edition of the Stamp Act of 1765 is specially formatted with illustrations of King George III, Parliament, and pictures of the Stamp Act.