Increased Regulation And Taxing By The British Monarch And Parliament

Submitted By Brian-Conley
Words: 1066
Pages: 5

Citizens that once considered and believed themselves to be Englishmen took offense to the increased regulation and taxation by the British Monarch and Parliament and began considering themselves Americans more and more over time (Copeland, 2000). Colonist began thinking that increased taxation to pay for expenses of the British government was unfairly levied on them and was more extreme than was needed. British reaction to the colonist’s actions often resulted in more taxation which further angered the colonist and made the situation worse. This resulted in an ever more tense situation which was bound to reach a breaking point which would have drastic effects for both parties.
By 1763 the colonist had amassed a mountain of debt for which they had agreed to on their own terms prior to Parliament stepping in. Thousands of Pounds were borrowed and spent on the defense of colonial America in the French and Indian war. In addition to this the British government, Treasury, and Parliament levied new taxes which the colonist felt were unfair and were increasingly difficult to pay and sustain a comfortable lifestyle. Beginning with the Stamp Act in 1765 (YORK, 2009) the British Treasury and Parliament levied taxes on every sort of printed material that was bought or sold in the colonies. This angered not only the colonist but also the printers themselves which led to newspapers refusing to print on any paper which had a stamp attached to it. This tax ended in 1766 when the British government realized that enforcement in the colonies was impossible. “Even so, parliamentary debates leading to its repeal proved contentious. Those who believed repeal was essential to restoring peace in the empire were countered by those who feared repeal would bring a catastrophic end to imperial authority” (YORK, 2009). What was not realized until much later, after the revolution, that repeal or not, the British Empire would likely have died out either way. If the tax remained, the colonist may have declared independence much sooner. If the Stamp Tax was repealed first the American colonist and soon after other British colonies may have realized they could fight for the same rights and such and the American colonist had. However a rift began between those who had supported the Stamp Tax, namely those that agreed to collect the tax, and the rest of the colonist who had opposed it. This rift continued on and into the American Revolution by people that wanted to be part of the British Empire.
The perceived injustice of the colonist in regards to the Stamp Act resulted in a growing momentum and in fact a movement which resulted in the phrase “No taxation without Representation”. This belief and subsequent following said that if representatives elected or chosen by colonist were not involved in the decision making process resulting in taxation and other matters that affected the colonies, then they should not be subject to these laws and they should not have to enforce said laws. “All British Subjects are really in the same: none are actually, all are virtually represented in Parliament; for every Member of Parliament sits in the House not as Representative of his own Constituents, but as one of that August Assembly by which all the Commons of Great Britain are represented.” (Copeland, 2000). This is what Britain considered “virtual representation”, that is in saying that every representatives represented all the interest as it best suited all of the citizens instead of being elected by constituents in a given area. This was a major area of contention which led to the American Revolution. If Britain had chosen to allow representatives elected from colonist to sit in and vote on matters affecting colonial matters many of the protest and ultimately the American Revolution may never have happened in the first place! The colonist were not opposed to being part of the British Empire, only that they felt that concerns they had would not be addressed because