The series of laws enacted by the British Parliament during the period of 1763-1775 were intended to regulate the trade and tax policies in relation to the American colonies. However, these laws reflected the British Parliament’s ignorance related to the needs of the American colonists and emphasized the British focus on gaining more profits instead of developing the colonies after the prolonged Seven Years’ War (Keene, Cornell, and O’Donnell 98). Thus, the American Revolution can be discussed as a form of the colonists’ reaction to such British Parliament’s acts as the Sugar Act of 1764, the Stamp Act of 1765, the Revenue Act of 1767, and the Tea Act of 1773 which were developed to oppress the American colonists.
The Sugar Act of 1764 was the first step to predict the following imperial crisis of 1765-1766. In 1764, George Grenville as the head of the British Parliament proposed the improved variant of the Molasses Act known as the Sugar Act. In order to gain more income for Great Britain, Grenville reduced the duties on molasses from 6d per gallon to 3d per gallon. Nevertheless, the American importers were affected significantly. The American colonists had to pay high taxes for such luxury items as sugar, wine, coffee, and molasses (Murrin 132). The result of the ineffective legislation was a series of protests in the American colonies. The colonists understood that the Sugar Act was unfair, and their first reaction to the legislation was the organized resistance in the form of mass protests which differed significantly from the colonists’ further violent boycotts.
The conflicts between the colonists and the British officials intensified as a result of the Stamp Act of 1765. According to the Act, the American colonists had to buy a government stamps not only for legal documents, as the British did, but also for newspapers, cards, and many other paper goods (Murrin 133-140). The law was discussed by the American publishers and other citizens as rather questionable because of the necessity to pay high taxes for many paper goods, and the enforcement of the law resulted in numerous riots in the American cities. Referring to the Stamp Act, the American colonists also began to boycott a lot of the British goods. The wave of riots involved more than ten colonies which decided to unite in order to oppose the British Parliament’s Acts (Keene, Cornell, and O’Donnell 126). As a result, the Stamp Act became the trigger to unite colonies on their path to the further revolution.
The American colonies could import tea, paper, paint, glass, and lead only from Great Britain. In order to gain more revenues, the British Parliament proposed one more specific act known as the Revenue Act of 1767 which imposed significant import duties. The reaction of the American colonists was the development of the organized opposition to the British rule in Boston based on the organizations which originally opposed to the Stamp Act. The most active organization which contributed to the movement to support the colonies’ rights was the Boston Sons of Liberty (Murrin 135-141). The spread of boycotts in the American cities led to the development of specific sanctions against the British Parliament. Boycotts were organized by the active opponents of the British taxation policies in order to prevent the extension of the parliamentary authority in the region.
The final ground to develop the revolution in the American colonies was the Tea Act of 1773. In order to support the East India Company, the British Parliament chose to promote the aspects and ideas of the Revenue Act in the American colonies while repealing the law in Great Britain. The demands of the American colonists were ignored while the price of tea was significantly reduced (Murrin 148). The colonists did not see any perspectives for the progress of their economies with references to the provocative Tea Act because the British Parliament continued to demonstrate privilege in relation to Great Britain. Consequently, the American colonists chose to oppose the law while organizing the Boston Tea Party and supporting a movement against the British rule in the colonies (Murrin 148). The Boston Tea Party as an act of the protest in a form of throwing chests of tea into the water accentuated the contradictions in the visions of Great Britain and colonies about their future while leading to the war.
The Sugar Act of 1764, the Stamp Act of 1765, the Revenue Act of 1767, and the Tea Act of 1773 can be discussed as failures in the British legislation because these ineffective acts provoked the development of the active opposition in the American colonies. Each act of the British Parliament which was directed to gaining more revenues and to violating the rights of the colonies led to the development of the economic, political, and military crisis. The result of the mass protests against the dramatic laws proposed by British authorities was the American Revolution and Declaration of Independence. Thus, the British authorities did not improve the economy of Great Britain with the help of the acts, and they also provided the trigger for the colonies to win independence from the British rule.
Keene, Jennifer, Saul Cornell, and Edward O’Donnell. Visions of America: A History of the United States. New York, NY: Pearson, 2013. Print.
Murrin, John. Liberty, Equality, Power: Volume I: To 1877. New York, NY: Cengage Learning, 2008. Print.