- The Stamp Act was passed by the British Parliament on March 22, 1765.
- The new tax was imposed on all American colonists and required them to pay a tax on every piece of printed paper they used.
- Ship’s papers, legal documents, licenses, newspapers, other publications, and even playing cards were taxed.
- The tax applied to all legal documents, such as contracts, licenses, deeds, diplomas, and ship clearance papers. It also applied to pamphlets, newspapers, playing cards, advertisements, and dice.
- In order to purchase these items, a person had to also purchase a tax stamp that was embossed on (or attached to) the item.
- Any legal documents that did not have a stamp were considered invalid. If anyone distributed documents without the proper stamp, they could be fined.
- They passed this law because they had to raise money after the French and Indian War
- On May 29, 1765, the Virginia legislature adopted resolutions stating that only the Virginia legislature itself could tax Virginians.
- These Virginia Resolutions were written and introduced to the legislature by Patrick Henry.
- After they were adopted, the resolutions were published in many colonial newspapers.
- They inspired widespread colonial resistance to the tax.
- When they heard about it, the colonists were vehemently opposed to the new tax.
- According to the act, the money raised from the tax was supposed to be used for the protection and defense of the American colonies.
- However, the colonists suspected that Parliament planned to spend the money on defense for England, not the colonies.
- The colonists were also angry because they did not believe Parliament should be allowed to impose a tax on the colonies without their consent.
- Although resented, the Sugar Act tax was hidden in the cost of import duties, and most colonists accepted it.
- The Stamp Act, however, was a direct tax on the colonists and led to an uproar in America over an issue that was to be a major cause of the Revolution: taxation without representation.
And for and upon every pack of playing cards, and all dice, which shall be sold or used within the said colonies and plantations, the several stamp duties following (that is to say):
For every pack of such cards, one shilling.
And for every pair of such dice, ten shillings.