5 tax dispute it was not so much the new duties that

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5. Tax dispute It was not so much the new duties that caused consternation among New England merchants. It was rather the fact that steps were being taken to enforce them effectively, an entirely new development. For over a generation, New Englanders had been accustomed to importing the larger part of the molasses for their rum distilleries from the French and Dutch West Indies without paying a duty. They now contended that payment of even the small duty imposed would be ruinous. As it happened, the preamble to the Sugar Act gave the colonists an opportunity to rationalize their discontent on constitutional grounds. The power of Parliament to tax colonial commodities for the regulation of trade had long been accepted in theory though not always in practice, but the power to tax "for improving the revenue of this Kingdom," as stated in the Revenue Act of 1764, was new and hence debatable. The constitutional issue became an entering wedge in the great dispute that was finally to wrest the American colonies from England. "One single act of Parliament," wrote James Otis, fiery orator from Massachusetts, "has set more people a-thinking in six months, more than they had done in their whole lives before." Merchants, legislatures, and town meetings protested against the expediency of the law, and colonial lawyers like Samuel Adams found in the preamble the first intimation of "taxation without representation," the catchword that was to draw many to the cause of the American patriots against the mother country.
Later in the same year, Parliament enacted a Currency Act "to prevent paper bills of credit hereafter issued in any of His Majesty's colonies from being made legal tender." Since the colonies were a deficit trade area and were constantly short of "hard money," this added a serious burden to the colonial economy. History of American Money equally objectionable from the colonial viewpoint was the Billeting Act, passed in 1765, which required colonies to provide quarters and supplies for royal troops. Strong as was the opposition to these acts, it was the last of the measures inaugurating the new colonial system that sparked organized resistance. Known to history as the “Stamp Act”, it provided that revenue stamps be affixed to all newspapers, broadsides, pamphlets, licenses, leases, or other legal documents, the revenue (collected by American agents) to be used for "defending, protecting, and securing" the colonies. The burden seemed so evenly and lightly distributed that the measure passed Parliament with little debate. The violence of the reaction in the thirteen colonies, however, astonished moderate men everywhere. The act aroused the hostility of the most powerful and articulate groups in the population, journalists, lawyers, clergymen, merchants, and businessmen, north and south, east and west, for it bore equally on all sections of the country. Soon leading merchants, whose every bill of lading would be taxed, organized for resistance and formed non-importation associations.

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