The Stamp Act
The Stamp Act was passed in the British Parliament in London on this date in 1765. This bill was designed to help pay for the huge debt created by the recently concluded Seven Years War (the French and Indian War in North America) by taxing the American Colonies. The act required that all legal documents, legal licenses, broadsides, newspapers, decks of playing cards, etc. , printed in the Colonies had to have a special embossed stamp. The stamped papers were to be sold by the British Colonial authorities with the tax varying according to the particular item.
The passage of this bill created a huge protest in the colonies, which surprised the members of Parliament and the King's cabinet. (A similar stamp act had already gone into effect in England). The colonists were used to paying special taxes, but expected the taxes to be levied by their own elected or appointed legislatures and Governors. This act was viewed as "taxation without representation" and many throughout the Colonies called for its immediate repeal. The Stamp Act was the beginning of the radicalization of America and its first movements towards independence.