No Taxation Without Representaton
In 1765, the British Parliament passed the Stamp Act, which placed a tax on newspapers, almanacs, cards, legal documents, and other paper documents. Although this was not the first tax that Parliament had put on the American colonists, it was the first tax to affect everyone, not just merchants or other special groups of people. As a result, many people in the colonies were angry. They believed that it was unfair to have Parliament make the Americans pay taxes when they had no say in the decision. Most colonial governments were headed by governors appointed by Britain, rather than people elected by Americans. Many felt that they should not be taxed unless they had a representative in Parliament.
Most members of Parliament were convinced that Britain ought to be able to collect taxes from the colonists. Thus, they did not bother with the colonists complaints. This made the American protesters even angrier. Groups like the Sons of Liberty started to organize demonstrations against unfair British policies. People like Patrick Henry in Virginia and Samuel Adams in Massachusetts spoke out against British taxes. The Americans who didn't like Britain's taxes started using this slogan: "no taxation without representation."
In 1765, delegates from nine out of the thirteen colonies met in New York City at the Stamp Act Congress. On October 19, 1765, they signed a resolution which stated that it was their right to have "no taxes imposed on them ... [except] with their own consent, given personally or by their representatives." In reply to all the colonial demonstrations, the British Parliament got rid of the Stamp Act, but passed a law called the Declaratory Act, which stated that Parliament had "full power and authority to make laws and statutes ... in all cases whatsoever," including taxation. The argument over this issue was one of the major causes of the Revolutionary War.