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Over the course of nine years, the French-Indian War doubled Great Britain’s national debt, causing the country to fall into economic crisis. As a result of this debt, the British government was faced with a serious question: how were they going to save their national economy? Their solution: a series of increasingly aggressive taxes on the colonies.
See the fact file below for more information on the New Taxes for the Colonists or alternatively, you can download our 22-page New Taxes for the Colonists worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- Prior to the French-Indian War, the British government practiced salutary neglect, a way of loosely governing the colonies to keep them under British control without imposing British law upon them.
- Because the colonists were not forced to abide by British laws during this period of salutary neglect, each colony created their own local forms of government to regulate trade and solve disputes.
- When Britain ended their practice of salutary neglect to begin taxing the colonists, they began to practice mercantilism – using colonies to make money for a mother country.
- The taxes imposed by the British government sparked outrage throughout the 13 colonies; many colonists felt the taxes were unfair and punitive because colonists had no voice in Parliament to speak to their interests – they believed there should be “no taxation without representation.”
- The tension between Britain and the colonies led to a series of conflicts that would ultimately end in the American Revolution.
- In total, the British government imposed four significant taxes on the colonies over the course of seven years.
- In 1764, Britain began its taxation on the colonists with the Sugar Act. It was intended to curb the purchase of non-British imports through taxes on foreign molasses and some other imports. While this tax actually reduced a tax previously established in 1733 (the Sugar and Molasses Act), the taxes imposed by the new Sugar Act were strictly enforced and led to colonial anger.
- The British continued creating new taxes in 1765 by imposing the Stamp Act. Taxing all paper goods in the colonies, the Stamp Act was the first tax placed directly on the colonists, forcing them to pay for stamps on pamphlets, books, newspapers, and legal documents. Colonists protested the Stamp Act so vehemently that it was repealed within a year of its passage.
- Immediately after the repeal of the Stamp Act was the Townshend Revenue Act of 1767. This taxed common products that were imported into the colonies, including paper, glass, tea, lead, and paint. The Townshend Revenue Acts were not met with significant protest as colonists were not directly taxed on these goods at time of purchase, however the effects of the Townshend Revenue Acts were felt by colonists when the costs of everyday goods increased.
- In 1773, Britain began affecting something the colonists relied on heavily: tea. The Tea Act imposed no new taxes, but rather forced the colonists to purchase their tea from the East India Company, a prominent British company that was in significant debt. With the Townshend Acts still in place, colonists imported cheap tea from the company and paid the respective taxes owed. Because the tea could only be sold directly from British agents, colonial merchants suffered. Many colonists saw this as the last straw in a series of British injustice.
- Most colonists were outraged by the taxes imposed on them by the British government.
- Some colonists took matters into their own hands to try and stop the British from taxing them. In 1773, a group of colonists snuck onto a ship at Griffin’s Wharf in Massachusetts and dumped 342 chests of British tea into the harbor, an event that would later come to be known as the Boston Tea Party.
- Other colonists protested the taxes and other forms of British oppression by throwing rocks at British troops. On March 5, 1770, a group of colonists began yelling at a group of British soldiers in the streets of Boston. Upon having some rocks thrown at them, the soldiers opened fire into the crowd, killing five. This event would be known as the Boston Massacre.
- Many colonists wanted to join together to rise up against the British government and create a new nation free from their control. These colonists were called Patriots. Notable Patriots were George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, and even Benjamin Franklin.
- In 1776, patriots met to write down their grievances against the British government and declare the colonies a sovereign nation. This document was called the Declaration of Independence.
- Despite the fact that most colonists did not agree with the harsh taxes (and other political acts) imposed on them as a result of the French-Indian War, a small fraction of colonists wanted to remain loyal to the British government and remain colonies. These colonists were called Loyalists.
- The growing tensions in the colonies between political ideas would lead to the American Revolution and, ultimately, the independence the Patriots so desperately wanted.
New Taxes for the Colonists Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about new taxes for the colonists across 22 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use New Taxes for the Colonists worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the New Taxes for the Colonists. Over the course of nine years, the French-Indian War doubled Great Britain’s national debt, causing the country to fall into economic crisis. As a result of this debt, the British government was faced with a serious question: how were they going to save their national economy? Their solution: a series of increasingly aggressive taxes on the colonies.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- New Taxes on the Colonies Facts
- Tax-y Turvy
- A Taxing Crossword Puzzle
- Taxation Timeline
- Making Headlines
- Taxation True or False
- Picture Analysis
- Colonial Symbols
- No Taxation Without Representation
- Tax Return and Review
- Before and After
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