Colonial And Early American

How Colonists Protested British Taxes

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The colonial reaction to British taxes was not uniform. While many Americans protested what they saw as an abuse of monarchical and parliamentary power, other Americans accepted British taxes without complaint. But ultimately, many colonists protested British taxes in a number of different ways in order to enact changes in British policy.

-1) The Boston Tea Party of 1773

Perhaps the most famous of American protests, the Boston Tea Party of 1773 occurred in reaction to the passage by the English Parliament of the Tea Act. This tax on tea angered many Americans, who had no representation in Parliament, and viewed this tax as antithetical to their constitutional rights. Angry American colonists boarded British ships and threw the tea into Boston Harbor, an iconic event now synonymous with the American Revolution.

-2) Petition to the King (1774)

Before the Declaration of Independence in which American colonists declared their independence from England, the First Continental Congress sent a petition to King George III of England protesting the Intolerable Acts. The Intolerable Acts were a series of laws passed in reaction to the Boston Tea Party, which included shutting down Boston Harbor to trade and requiring many American colonists to be tried overseas in England. In this written protest in the form of a petition, American colonists declared their loyalty to the king and asked for his support in getting rid of the Intolerable Acts.

-3) Ordinary People Protested in the Streets

Frustration with English taxation and elite structures of power led ordinary people to take to the streets and protest British taxes. As the American Revolution began, American colonists burned effigies of the king, destroyed his statues in America, and burned Hanoverian signia, the royal house of King George III. Tax collectors were also run out of town, and at times their houses were destroyed.

-4) Declaration of Independence (1776)

On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress signed the Declaration of Independence, declaring American independence from England. This marked the culmination of colonial protests to British taxes, as many American colonists opted to revolt against the mother country rather than stay and accept taxes they did not support.

Not all American colonists agreed. Some loyalists continued to support the crown, and responded with a Declaration of Dependence, signed by more colonists than the Declaration of Independence itself. But ultimately, the Whigs won the war, and American protests against excessive taxation paved the way for revolution.

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