Prelude to War: 1763-1768:
Declaration of Independence


Not long after the end of the French and Indian War, the Proclamation of 1763 was issued. In it, England established borders along the western edge of the colonies in an effort to stem continuing wars with Indians over lands. It was not well-received in the colonies because it withdrew lands that had been promised to veterans of that war. Parliament then passed a series of taxes on the colonies in an effort to pay for the war effort and the continuing cost of stationing troops in the colonies.

In April 1764, the Sugar Act was passed, which raised the duty on imported refined sugar, called for strict enforcement of existing duties, such as the Molasses Act and increased duties on many other imported goods. In September 1764, the Currency Act was passed to curb inflation and the payment of colonial debts to England with depreciated currency.

In 1765, Parliament passed the Mutiny Act which included a provision for the quartering of troops in private homes, but the colonies refused to recognize it, so the Quartering Act was passed in March 1765, which deleted the clause concerning quartering in private homes, but made the colonies responsible for providing barracks and supplies for British troops.

In October 1765, the Stamp Act Congress convened in New York City to discuss action to oppose Parliament's passage of the Stamp Act, which would require an official stamp be bought for all printed materials. The Stamp Act Congress produced a set of Resolutions protesting the Stamp Act, which went into effect in November 1765.

The colonies ignored the Stamp Act and only Georgia made any to enforce it and it was repealed in March 1766. At the same time that it repealed the Stamp Act, Parliament passed the Declaratory Act, in which Parliament asserted its authority to make laws binding in the colonies "in all cases whatsoever." In the celebration over the repeal of the Stamp Act, many colonists failed to notice the Declaratory Act.

During debates over repealing the Stamp Act, Benjamin Franklin argued that the colonies only opposed internal taxes, so Chancellor of the Exchequer, Charles Townshend proposed importation duties on glass, paint, paper and tea. The resulting Townshend Act was passed in July, 1767 imposed such duties. In February 1768, the Massachusetts House of Representatives adopted a Circular Letter, which states grievances similar to the Stamp Act Congress Resolutions. The colonies also began a boycott of English goods.







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