American History – Taxation Laws 1760s American history, as one knows from the chronicles begins from British rule and domination, but under the influence of 1760s taxation laws the situation changed and the people realized themselves as independent nation and decided to struggle for liberation. The present paper is designed to discuss the main legal and economic reasons for the rebellion, or the Stamp Act and the letter from Pennsylvanian farmer.
The stamp Act, adopted by Congress, was created as a document of highest legal power, as the Congress intended to gain additional benefits from British colonies. Nevertheless, as the law declares, the main reason for adoption is the alleged need for handling problems of the whole American continent, caused by "impending misfortunes of the British colonies on this continent" (Stamp Act). In fact the main event preceding this decision made by the Congress was the impoverishment of British economy after colonial wars with France, which turned out a strong rival. Religious issues also played their role, as the Act refers to the problems with establishing Protestantism in America.
The Act clearly expresses the British attitude towards the colony: all Englishmen are recognized as free residents and taxation duties are positioned as the free will of those under British Crown, and due to the large number of target audiences, the Act emphasizes the respect for natural human rights, yet the law to great extent imposes the taxes to plantation-owners and free traders " His Majesty’s liege subjects in these colonies, are entitled to all the inherent rights and liberties of his natural born subjects within the kingdom of Great-Britain" (ibid, II).
Furthermore, the Act creates a kind of taxation framework and claims that high taxes will become a contribution into the wealth of Great Britain and thus the wealth of the entire English nation. Another claim declared in the law is the legal enforcement of financial centralization, yet the colonies loose their entitlement to purchase goods produced in Great Britain. The colonies thus are left on their own, but still are obliged to pay taxes into the British budget: "the restrictions imposed by several late Acts of Parliament, on the trade of these colonies, will render them unable to purchase the manufactures of Great-Britain" (ibid, XI).
The credibility of the Act is determined by its reference to common sense and financial interests of colonizers and local population, i.e. the taxation is reasonable in terms of overall national well-being.
Letter from a farmer expresses an opposite viewpoint and shows that the Act touches American interests in rather negative aspect. The main motivation of the ‘farmer’ was the fact that the legal document restricts his rights, so he presented his claims to broader audience immediately after the adoption of the Act. The letter is full of respect to the most significant national interests, as the author claims that Americans have had successful performance as farmers, traders and plantation-owners, but the establishment of manufactures on the continent will require much time and expenditures, whereas the Congress doesn’t include the specification of the measures, which would allow Americans do without British goods:" This continent is a country of planters, farmers, and fishermen. not of manufacturers. The difficulty of establishing particular manufactures in such a country, is almost insuperable" (Letters from a Farmer II) .Moreover, the author assumes that the Crown doesn’t intend do increase American revenue, but conversely, encumbers economical development of the colonies putting them into the Procrustus’s couch of newly-introduced taxation system "Never did the British parliament, till the period above mentioned think of imposing duties in America, F0R THE PURPOSE OF RAISING A REVENUE" (ibid).
In addition, Great Britain restricts American manufacturing and bans iron and steel production, but the Act doesn’t specify where people should take these important materials from. The Stamp Act also reduces American trade to domestic commerce as it puts huge taxes on exported commodities and thus gradually deprives nation of its means for survival. The author clearly explains the reasons for the needlessness (from British viewpoint) of American economic development – the taxes are fixed and cannot be decreased even in case of export reduction. The ‘farmer’ thus encourages broad public to rebel against the legal destruction of American economic pillars and thus appeals to national common sense and survival instinct: "Here then, my dear country men ROUSE yourselves, and behold the ruin hanging over your heads" (ibid).