Virginia and its citizens. The debate grew so heated that at one point Henry was called a traitor. To this charge, Henry, according to legend, responded, “If this be treason, make the most of it” (Vaughan, 1997, pp. 50–56).One month after Virginia approved several of Henry’s resolves, the General Court of Mas-sachusetts called for a Stamp Act Congressto be held in Philadelphia. The court invited all the colonies to send representatives to decide on a joint response to the Stamp Act. In the meantime, protests against the act turned violent. Mobs in Massachusetts, Connecti-cut, New York, and Maryland attacked stamp collectors and colonial officials. They even tarred and feathered some by dumping hot and sticky tar over them and then covering them with feathers.When the Stamp Act Congress finally met in Octo-ber 1765, with representatives from every colony except Georgia, it passed a series of resolutions, including a declaration of the rights of the colo-nists. The representatives declared themselves subjects of the king, and as such they were enti-tled to all the rights of Englishmen, including trial by jury and the right to petition the government. Most important, they declared, Parliament had no right to legislate for the colonists. Only the people themselves or their duly elected representatives could pass laws for the colonies, including taxes. The declaration of rights also warned that high taxes levied by Parliament on the colonies would be counterproductive, making it nearly impos-sible for the colonists to buy the many manufac-tured goods coming out of Great Britain (Morgan & Morgan, 1995, pp. 107–121).An Emerging American Political PhilosophyIn their protest against the Stamp Act, the Americans defended the political system that had developed in the colonies since the founding of the House of Burgesses in Virginia in 1619. They believed that a representative must live in a district if he was to be elected from it to a colonial assembly. Only these representatives could pass laws that would be the best for their districts and the entire colony. Political scientists today call this system direct representation.In contrast, the British believed in virtual representation, meaning a representative could stand for election in any district, even one in which he did not live. The British believed that where a person lived or stood for election was irrelevant; his devotion to his nation and his understanding of the problems of the entire empire, including the American colo-nies, were all that mattered. Both the American colonists and the British were proud of the systems they had developed.iStockphoto/ThinkstockPatrick Henry, a representative in Virginia’s House of Burgesses, first won fame as an orator during the Stamp Act Crisis.
CHAPTER 4Section 4.5 The Empire Strengthens Its GripAlthough the Americans had been willing to accept external taxes, such as the sugar tax, that placed duties on imports or controlled international trade, they refused to accept internal taxes
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