Sugar and stamps; two items in our world that we don’t really give much of a thought. This was not the case in the late 18th century, this much is for certain. Our colonial ancestors used the imposed taxes on these items, and others, as a means to fuel the ultimate rebellion.
In today’s world, we are more or less accustomed to taxes going up. Despite our grumbling, we aren’t banding together into scantly armed militia groups and preparing a coup d’etat. In their view, England really didn’t have much of a choice at the time but neither did the colonists. George III needed to raise money to pay off war debts from their consistent desire to expand the empire. They also needed to pay to defend their new territories won from France during the Seven Years War. They couldn’t tax their English subjects, this had been attempted and resulted in uprising. George III wanted to tame his subjects abroad and he certainly never would have expected the outcome that was to be revealed only a few years later.
So, England decides to pass the Stamp Act on March 22, 1765. The act imposed a direct tax on all materials printed for commercial and legal use. This included the obvious printed materials like newspapers and pamphlets, but also included novelty items such as dice.
The Quartering Act and Sugar Act, along with the Stamp Act had much to do with the fuel for rebellious propaganda and ultimate reaction by groups such as the Sons of Liberty.
The Commonwealth of Nations still expands far and wide in the 21st century, including over 50 independent nations. Although the current monarchy is virtually politically powerless, the formal head of state is Queen Elizabeth II nonetheless. History could have been different for America had George III been a tad more reserved and a lot less stubborn. He looked upon America as a prize that he specifically deserved to win and keep. If things had been different, we would be saying something a lot different each morning in homeroom and CNN would be broadcasting the Speech from the Throne given by Elizabeth II and written by Prime Minister Obama and other ministers of the crown.
Would we have been better off? What do you think?