What did the Stamp Act tax colonists for?

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pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The Stamp Act was one of the most important taxes in American history.  Because American colonists were so angered by the Stamp Act, they increased their opposition to British rule in general.  They protested very vigorously against the act, often with some degree of violence.  This was one of the major factors in pushing the colonists towards rebelling against England.

If you look in the link below, you will see that a very great number of things were taxed under the Stamp Act.  In general, we can say that many kinds of things that were printed on paper or on other materials were taxed under this act.  For example, playing cards were taxed.  So were legal documents like contracts, wills and diplomas.  The paper on which newspapers were printed was taxed.  Almanacs, calendars, and pamphlets were all taxed.

If you need a list that includes everything that was taxed under this act, read through the actual text of the act in the link below.  However, it is generally adequate to say that the paper or other materials that most things were printed on were subject to being taxed.

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npbart's profile pic

npbart | eNotes Newbie

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Put simply the Stamp Act, passed in 1765 by British Parliament, required the American Colonists to pay a tax on every piece of printed paper they used. This included newspapers, legal documents, ship's papers, licenses, and even playing cards.

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luannev | Elementary School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

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The Stamp Act of 1765 was passed on March 22, 1765 by the British Parliament.  This tax was forced on the all American colonists and made them pay a tax on every piece of printed paper they used.  This included ship papers, legal documents, licenses, newspapers and other publications, including playing cards.  The money collected was used to help pay for defending and protecting the American frontier.  This was located near the Appalachian Mountains.  There were 10,000 troops stationed on the American frontier for this purpose.

Colonists took offence to the law because of the standard it seemed to set.  In the past, taxes and duties on colonial trade were viewed as measures to regulate commerce, not to raise money.  They believed that this was a direct attempt by England to raise money in the colonies without the approval of the colonial legislatures.  The thought that this tax would lead to more taxation in the future. 

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