The Stamp Tax

Parliament in the 1700's

The Stamp Tax was passed in the British Parliament

This article on the Stamp Tax in Colonial America provides fast facts and information about the effects of this controversial British tax that was imposed on the American Colonies

  • What was the Stamp Tax?
  • The Meaning and Definition of the Stamp Tax
  • The purpose of the Stamp Tax
  • The significance of the Stamp Tax
  • The year the Stamp Tax was passed was 1765
  • Fast and easy to understand explanation of the Stamp Tax for kids
Original Text of the Stamp Tax
American Colonies Index

History of the first 13 Colonies and how they became the United States

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Definition of the Stamp Tax

The Meaning and Definition of the Stamp Tax: The Stamp Tax of 1765 was a British Act, passed by the Parliament of Great Britain on  February 6th, 1765, during the reign of King George III during the ministry of George Grenville (Lord Grenville).

The Stamp Tax was designed to raise revenue from the American Colonies by a duty (tax) in the form of a stamp required on all newspapers and legal or commercial documents.

The bill for the Stamp Tax was passed in the House of Commons on February 17, approved by the House of Lords on March 8th, and two weeks later ordered in effect by the King. The Stamp Tax took effect on November 1, 1765.

The Stamp Tax was first direct tax to be levied on the American colonies. It was the first serious attempt to assert British governmental authority over the 13 colonies.


Stamp Taxs Stamps - One Penny Stamp

The Stamp Tax - One Penny Stamp


1765 Stamp Tax Fact File

FactsFacts about the Stamp Tax 1765
Fact 1The year the British Stamp Tax was passed 1765. The Stamp Tax called for the taxing of 54 separate items 
Fact 2Documents subject to the Stamp Tax of 1765 included newspapers, liquor licenses, legal documents, calendars. almanacs, certificates, diplomas, contracts, wills, Bills of Sale and Licenses 
Fact 3The documents required different rates of Stamp tax ranging from penny up to 10
Fact 4Dice were the only non-paper items listed under the 1765 Act and stamp impressions were made on the dice as proof that the Stamp Tax had been paid 
Fact 5As the Stamp Tax applied to both playing cards and dice this was viewed as an indirect tax on gambling 
Fact 6The Stamp Tax Stamps were not like the stamps that we put on envelopes. Some documents were printed on stamped, or embossed, paper 
Fact 7The French and Indian War was a victory for the British but they were left with a massive war debt of 130 million pounds. One of the reasons the Stamp Tax was introduced was to clear the war debt 
Fact 8The policy of the British Chancellor of the Exchequer, Lord Grenville, was to raise revenue by taxing the American colonists, rather than taxing the people in Great Britain 
Fact 9The main purpose of the Act was to raise revenue to pay for the British military presence in the American colonies 
Fact 10The Stamp Tax stated that any publications in 'foreign tongues' had to pay twice the normal rates
Fact 11Newspapers were taxed according to their size - any advertisements were also taxed!
Fact 12The apprenticeship system was also subject to the Stamp Tax 
Fact 13The Stamp Tax Stamps had to be paid with 'hard currency' (silver or gold coins) and not in paper money, which was the most common form of payment in the colonies - also refer to Colonial, Continental and Revolutionary Currency 
Fact 14Failure to pay Stamp Taxes incurred penalties, fines and forfeitures. The fines ranged from 2 up to 10 
Fact 15Anyone involved in the counterfeit of documents to avoid the taxes faced the Death Penalty 
Fact 16There was no Trial by Jury for anyone who offended the Stamp Tax - cases were heard in the Admiralty Courts. There was no trial by jury in the Admiralty Courts. Cases were decided by judges rather than juries  
Fact 17The colonists outrage and violent reaction to the Stamp Tax came as a great surprise to the British government and also to the Americans 
Fact 18The colonies believed that the Stamp Tax was a deliberate attempt to undercut their commercial strength and their independence 
Fact 19The Stamp Tax was introduced by a direct order from Britain without approval of the colonial legislature - the cry of "No taxation without representation" was heard throughout the American colonies 
Fact 20The British Act united the colonists in New England, the Middle and the Southern colonies - the Stamp Tax effected every colonist, unlike previous taxes 
Fact 21The Stamp Tax led to the first concerted effort by the American colonists to resist the British Parliament and the authority of Great Britain and the creation of resistance groups such as the Sons of Liberty 
Fact 22The reaction to the Stamp Tax brought violent protests from the colonists 
Fact 23Arguments against the 1765 Act were distributed from assembly to assembly in the form of "circulars". 
Fact 24Patrick Henry introduced 7 resolutions against the Stamp Tax in the Virginia House of Burgesses.   
Fact 25The Repeal of the Stamp Tax is approved by the House of Commons in February 1766 
 Fact 26The British Act led to outrage, anger, resentment, protests, dissension and ultimately to the American Revolutionary War and the Declaration of Independence from Great Britain. 
FactsFacts about the Stamp Tax of 1765

1765 Stamp Tax Fact File

What was the Stamp Tax?
The Stamp Tax required various items such as licenses, documents, diplomas and nearly every paper item to be printed on stamped or embossed paper in the American colonies. This article on the Stamp Tax provides interesting information and fast facts about this British Act which was made law in 1765. Information and facts at a glance about the Stamp Tax via this fast fact file. For in depth facts and information refer to the Stamp Act 1765.


Stamps showing that the Stamp Tax had been paid


Protesting against the Stamp Tax

Protesting against the Stamp Tax


Stamp Tax - British Laws and Taxes
Discover interesting  facts and information about the Taxes in the 13 Colonies that were imposed on the colonists of Colonial America by the British government via parliament. The Act was one of a series of taxes that divided Great Britain and its colonies in America. Despite the threat of rebellion and the intensity of the protests against the Stamp Act in the American colonies additional acts were passed in the British parliament which were deemed to be detrimental to the colonies.

Stamp Tax

  • Meaning and Definition of the Stamp Tax

  • History of the Stamp Tax of 1765

  • Fast Facts and info about Stamp Tax timeline

  • The Stamp Tax article is a great history resource for kids

  • Social Studies Homework help for kids on the Stamp Tax of 1765

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