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Intended to help support the British regiments left to defend the American colonies after the French and Indian War, Parliament passed the Stamp Act tax on March 22, 1765. The act required certain types of documents to be printed on taxed paper. An elaborate stamp, which included royal symbols and the word “America,” was printed or attached to the paper. The stamp proved that the tax was paid and applied to all legal documents, newspapers, and pamphlets, as well as playing cards and dice. The paper was stamped in Britain, sent to the colonies, and sold by government-appointed officials.

Many Americans thought the tax was unfair and opposed it. Protests broke out in almost every colony, sometimes violently targeting stamp collectors and other government officials. The protests were successful, and the Stamp Act was repealed on March 11, 1766, never having taken full effect in the American colonies.

Artifact Details

  • Stamp
    Britain
    ca. 1765
    Paper
    Museum of the American Revolution, 2019.18.01

Paper stamp printed with a crown, the initials "G" and "R," the number "137," and decorative flourishes
Reverse side of the Stamp Act stamp.

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