Taxing the English Settler

The American War of Independence was mainly started over taxation. Here we will look at how Britain taxed and how America reacted

Taxation refers to the practice of a government collecting money from its citizens to pay for public services. When you think about it, taxation is vital to the governing of a country….even though some people don’t want to pay them!!

Americans were taxed in 3 ways!


Like all colonies of the new world, America was not exempt from such taxation practices. The British Empire was a vast and incredibly wealthy network of trading businesses at this time. However, they were not the only country in Europe vying to be the strongest. Spain, Portugal, Holland and many other countries in Europe at this time including the old enemy France would have loved nothing more than to see the British Empire fail. Realizing the massive potential that the colonial states had, the British Empire developed the “Navigation Acts”.

Navigation Acts: Laws stated that some products grown or found in America (Sugar,Cotton,Tobacco) could only be sold to England.

So think about it! Any of you readers come from an agricultural background? Yes? Well let’s pretend anyway that you have been growing the finest crops for really great prices to many different countries. But now that your land is owned by one country, they tell you that

  1. You can’t sell to any other country other than them
  2. You have to pay more taxes on the land you use
  3. You will not get as much money for your crops as you use to

I know what your thinking! WTF has just happened here??!! But that’s what Americans must have felt like also.


The 7 Years War (1756-63)

Named after the length of time it took the war to start and end (although some will dispute it was 9 years), “The 7 Years War” was a major turning point for the British in North America. Remember I mentioned the old enemy France earlier? Well the old enemy got quite brave and began taking over British owned land in America prior to the outbreak of this war.

Americans (Settlers) & the British join forces to defeat the French who colonised Canada. British victory gives them control of both America & Canada. This was great for the British because not only have they retained their land and colonies, but they also dealt a massive military and economical blow to France!

But here comes the sad part for the Settlers – Britain taxes Americans to repay the cost of the war and to keep British troops in America for defense

That don’t make no sense!

canada map

On a side note: why do Canadians speak French in places?? Well there you go 🙂 French colonists much like British colonists brought their language with them. Although the majority of Canada is English speaking, the regions of Quebec and Ontario are French speaking, Note how they are on the East just like the British colonies were!

For more in depth detail on this war, you can find loads of information here:


The Stamp Acts

To cover the cost of the war – The British created the “Stamp Act”

All newspapers and legal documents had to be given an official stamp. Americans were made pay for this stamp which they argued was placed on them without consent! Funny enough the stamps seemed to tick them off the most…you would think it would be that massive war they helped Britain win so they could continue to be controlled by them instead of the French!!. But it was true..the settlers did not fancy paying such a tax and publicly voiced their discontent.

Check out this image..what do you think the settlers were trying to say?

Stamp Act: Cartoon, 1765 Painting; Stamp Act: Cartoon, 1765 Art Print for sale
Stamp Act: Cartoon, 1765 Painting; Stamp Act: Cartoon, 1765 Art Print for sale

For how the American Revolution began see my blog “The Sons of Liberty”



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