Britain found itself in quite the quandary after the end of the Seven Years War, one that saw their empire larger than ever, but overwhelmed by the fiscal cost of that war. Not only that, they were preparing to stand more troops up on the American frontier. There was money to be had, and nobody was a better target than the American colonists. Enter the Stamp Act of 1765. The new tax was obligatory for all American colonists and required them to pay taxes on ship's papers, legal documents, licenses, newspapers, other publications, and even playing cards. But there was something our now-friends across the pond couldn't anticipate: By raising taxes, they united the colonists, in mass, to openly castigate and rebel against the British government. Colonial newspapers, understandably fearful that the rise in taxes would hurt free press, printed op-eds and images criticizing the move. Some people went as far as to assault tax collectors. It was, arguably, the American colonies' most important act of rebellion. Why? It was the first act of rebellion that truly strained relations with Britain and set the stage for the taxation without representation debate, setting a course for revolution ten years later. They, the British, ignited a flame in the American belly. They started the careers of revolutionaries and made radical thought commonplace in the colonies. As one would remark years later, "Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God." That colonial spirit remains in America to this day. We control who taxes us. We will make the ultimate decision if they should stay in power.
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