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Taxation History of the U.S.

When the Americans fought the Revolutionary War, it was mainly due to the control they were under from British rule. A large part of that control included taxation, which the new Americans felt was unjust. They also felt as though they were victims of “taxation without representation,” meaning that they were paying taxes to a ruler without reaping any of its benefits. There were several major events in past US history that illustrate how people were forced to pay taxes, and how they revolted against it. The Stamp Act of 1765 was enacted by Great Britain and required every legal document including wills, permits, and even playing cards to have a tax stamp on them. People immediately protested, and this act was the first to encourage the famous phrase “no taxation without representation.” In 1773, another tax was enacted called the Tea Act of 1773. This law required a tariff, or tax, on tea. The British government claimed it was to help stop illegal importation of tea into America by the East India Company. But the Americans would not stand quietly by while they were being taxed on things they used every day. Instead, the famous Boston Tea Party took place later that year, and remains one of the most strongly supported protests against taxation ever in history. Throughout the centuries, taxes have been debated and the struggle between people “paying their fair share” continues on in the modern day world.

The Stamp Act

This page discusses what the Stamp Act was, what was being taxed, and why the Americans were so unhappy with these new tax laws.

A Summary of the 1765 Stamp Act

More information about the 1765 Stamp Act, what it entailed, and why people were revolting against this new tax that was imposed by the British government.

The Tea Act of 1773

Here, you can learn about the history of the Tea Act of 1773, its beginnings, and what the reason was for the imposition of new taxation on tea as well as how the Americans felt about this new tax.

Tax History Timeline

This page shows a timeline of taxation throughout the US between the years of 1713 and 1755, and explains Britain’s role at the time in taxing the colonists in America.

Facts and Summary of the Tea Act

Learn about the history, facts, and background of the Tea Act and how it eventually led to the revolt known as the Boston Tea Party.

The Tea Act: Event in a Nutshell

This easy to understand web page explains the tea act and summarizes what happened during that time in American history.

The East India Company

Learn about the company that imported tea to America, and helped to start the American Revolution, as well as enrage the British: The East India Company.

The Boston Tea Party of 1773

Learn about the famous Boston Tea Party here and find out what happened on that infamous day.

The Boston Tea Party Historical Society

This comprehensive website has plenty of information all about the Boston Tea Party as well as a timeline, and much more.

Liberty! Boston, 1774

This site has a lot of great information about the Boston Tea Party and the American revolt against the British government and their taxation on tea.

The American Revolution: The Boston Tea Party

This site has a lot of good documents and other information about the Boston Tea Party and its implemental role in the American Revolution.

The Tea Act

This page exhibits the actual document of the Tea Act and its exact wording.

The History of Taxes in the US

This article explores how taxes began, and gives some insight into the US income tax as well as some of the first tax laws in America.

The Stamp Act, March 22, 1765

This article goes in-depth and explores the British Stamp Act in 1765, and what kinds of tariffs were imposed on the American colonists at that time.

History of the US Tax System

Read more about the history of the US tax system starting from colonial times all the way up to today’s modern tax codes.

The Colonial Roots of American Taxation

The colonial period in American history was a big player in how taxation began in the United States. Read here to discover what roles it played in our modern day tax system, and how it influenced policy over the years.

British Reforms and Colonial Resistance

When the British began to implement new taxes, the colonists revolted. This page discusses what happened and gives a historical background on the different taxes and revolts of the time.

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