The average American was better off than the average Englishman Elements of

The average american was better off than the average

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The average American was better off than the average Englishman. (Elements of mercantilism survive today: e.g. protective tariffs.)
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Menace of Mercantilism After 1763 there was greater enforcement of the Navigation Laws. This stifled our economy. Americans were not free to buy, sell, or produce under the most profitable conditions. Southern colonies were favored because they grew non-English products. One-crop Virginians felt they were at mercy of British merchants. Americans felt used – not allowed to grow up!
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Stamp Tax Uproar Britain emerged from French and Indian War (Seven Years War) with its biggest debt. One-half of the debt was incurred defending the American colonies. England didn’t ask Americans to pay for this; Americans were asked, however, to pay 1/3 of the cost of maintaining English soldiers in America.
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George Grenville caused resentment by ordering the British Navy to begin enforcing the Navigation Laws.
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Grenville passed the Sugar Act (1764). This is the first law ever passed by Parliament for raising revenue in the colonies. The Sugar Act increased duties on foreign sugar imported from the West Indies. After a protest, the duty was lowered, but not repealed.
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More resentment: The Quartering Act (1765) required certain colonies to provide food and quarters for British troops.
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The most obnoxious law was the Stamp Tax , passed to raise revenue to support new military forces. It ordered the use of stamped paper or required affixing a stamp to the document.
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Britain said that they were just asking Americans to pay a fair share of cost for their own protection through taxes that are already being paid by British people.
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Some colonies refused to obey the Quartering Act or voted to supply a fraction of the supplies.
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Both Sugar and Stamp Acts provided for trying offenders in the hated admiralty courts.
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In admiralty courts, 1) juries were not allowed. 2) the burden of proof was on the defendant ( guilty until proven innocent ).
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Americans asked, “Why are British armies needed? Was the real purpose to control colonists? “No taxation w/o representation.” (Irony: seaport and tidewater towns most hurt by the Stamp Act denied full representation to backcountry pioneers.)
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There is a difference between “legislation” and “taxation” Americans denied that Parliament, where no Americans had seats, could impose taxes on Americans. Only colonial legislatures could do so!
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Parliament could, Americans said, legislate about trade and other matters that affected the entire empire. Parliament said that Americans were represented…… by “virtual representation.” Every member of Parliament represented all British subjects, not just those living in Britain.
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Americans didn’t really want representation: 1) They would always be outvoted.
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