What was the significance of the Townshend Acts?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The taxes that were imposed by the Townshend Acts of 1767 were important because they helped to reignite anger in the colonies against England.

Just the year before, Parliament had repealed the Stamp Tax after heated protests from the colonies.  In 1767, however, Charles Townshend decided to impose new taxes.  These new taxes, which were import duties on things like glass, paper, and tea, made the colonists angry all over again.  In response, the Sons of Liberty reorganized, new boycotts were called, and tax collectors were assaulted again (as they had been over the Stamp Tax).

By imposing these taxes, Townshend made the eventual revolution more likely besides making the colonists angry all over again.

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kmj23 | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted on

As the other educator has highlighted, the Townshend Acts caused a lot of anger in the colonies. But they were also significant because they led to the introduction of the Boston Non-Importation Agreement (in 1768) in which a number of leading Boston traders and merchants decided not to import or export any goods to and from Great Britain. In essence, this was a boycott of British goods which sent a strong message to the British government that the colonies would not be taxed in such a manner. To this end, the Non-Importation Agreement was a success: between 1768-1769, the importation of goods from Britain declined by half (See the first reference link provided). This had serious economic implications for British traders who exported goods to America.

This agreement contributed to the British government's decision to scrap the Townshend Acts in 1770.

You can read the full text of the Boston Non-Importation Agreement using the second reference link provided. 


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