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Stamp Act Timeline

Chronological events that led to the Stamp Act crisis and its repeal.

1694 – The English started paying a Stamp Act tax.

1754 – 1763 – French Indian War affects England financially.

1755 – Massachusetts experimented with Stamp Act.

1760 – King George III became King of England. He though Parliament had unfairly limited powers of the king. He and his advisers took more control over governing the country and its colonies.

1763 – The British defeated the French and took control of territory in Eastern Canada and west of the 13 colonies.

1763 – The Royal Proclamation of 1763 prohibited settlement west of the Allegheny Mountains and to maintain control it required British troops which increased the financial demand on the crown.

1764 – England’s debt was 130 million pounds, equivalent to billions of dollars today. People in England were already heavily taxed. Prime Minister George Grenville proposed raising revenue by making colonial residents pay tax. The tax would be in the form of a stamp tax on all documents and legal paper.

February 1765Parliament enacted the Stamp Act in order to raise funds to maintain troops in its colonies. It passed by a vote of 204 to 49. It was to take effect on November 1, 1765.

April 1765 – Word of the Stamp Act reached the colonies. Resistance began and continued for nearly a year in major cities.

September 1765 – King George fired Prime Minister George Grenville and appointed Charles Watson-Wentworth, Marquis of Rockingham as new Prime Minister.

August 1765 – Sons of Liberty in Boston hung and burned an effigy of Andrew Oliver, the colony’s stamp distributor, destroyed Stamp Act headquarters and attacked the houses of customs officials and of Lieutenant Governor Thomas Hutchinson.

October 1765 – Stamp Act Congress met in New York. Nearly all delegates agreed that the Stamp Act was unconstitutional since they were not represented in parliament and Britain had no right to tax them. Boycott of English goods. Violence and intimidation made every stamp master to resign except in Georgia.

November 1, 1765 – Date the Stamp Act was to take effect but with no one to distribute the stamps, the act could not take effect.

March 1766 – Parliament nullified the act under Prime Minister Marquis of Rockingham. Three pieces of legislation made the repeal of the Stamp Act possible putting an end to the crisis; the Declaratory Act, an economic legislation, and the Revenue Act which reduced the duty on molasses.


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