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Declaratory Act

History of the 13 Colonies and the laws & taxes that sparked rebellion against the British

The definition and purpose of the 1766 Declaratory Act and the cry of "No taxation without representation!"

Early American patriots and colonists

Parliament in the 1700's

The Declaratory Act was passed in Parliament

This article on the Declaratory Act in Colonial America provides fast facts and information about the effects of these laws and taxes. 

  • What was the Declaratory Act?
  • The Meaning and Definition of the Declaratory Act
  • The purpose of the Declaratory Act
  • The effect of the Declaratory Act
  • The year the Declaratory Act was passed was 1766
  • Fast and easy to understand explanation of the Declaratory Act,  suitable as an educational Social Studies resource for schools and kids
American Colonies Index Taxation in the Colonies
 

Definition of the Declaratory Act
The Meaning and Definition of the Declaratory Act: The Declaratory Act of 1766 was a British Law, passed in mid March by  the Parliament of Great Britain, that was passed at the same time that the Stamp Act was repealed. The colonists celebrated the repeal of the Stamp Act and their political victory but the the passing of the Declaratory Act was the beginning of more trouble...

Repeal of the Stamp Act & the Declaratory Act
The repeal of the Stamp Act was first major retreat by the British in the face of colonial American resistance. Although the repeal of the Stamp Act was supported by some British politicians, in particular, William Pitt, the Elder, who argued that it was unconstitutional to impose taxes upon the colonies, there were many who opposed the repeal. Those who opposed the repeal of the Stamp Act had no wish to send a message across the Atlantic that ultimate authority lay in the colonial legislatures. The Declaratory Act was their response to the repeal of the Stamp Act.

 

Map of Thirteen Colonies

Map of the Thirteen Colonies

 

The Declaratory Act
The Declaratory Act was passed by the British parliament to affirm its power to legislate for the colonies “in all cases whatsoever”. The declaration stated that Parliament's authority was the same in America as in Britain and asserted Parliament's authority to pass laws that were binding on the American colonies. The colonies did not dispute the notion of Parliamentary supremacy over the law. But the ability to tax without representation was another matter. The Declaratory Act made no such distinction. The reaction of the colonies to the repeal of the Stamp Act was to celebrate their victory. William Pitt was praised as a deliverer. Statues of him were placed in the streets and pictures of him were hung in public halls. Whilst basking in the glory of their political victory over the British they lost sight of the significance of the Declaratory Act.

Declaratory Act of 1766
The Declaratory Act of 1766 that asserted Parliament's authority to pass binding laws on the colonies contained the phrase “in all cases whatsoever” which could surely be taken to mean the power to tax. The Declaratory Act of 1766 was almost an exact copy of the 1719 Irish Declaratory Act which forced Ireland into total submission under the Crown.

   

Colonial America - The Land of the Brave

   

The 1719 Irish Declaratory Act
The 1719 Irish Declaratory Act declared that the Kingdom of Ireland was subordinate to and dependent upon the British crown, and that the King, with the advice and consent of the Parliament of Great Britain, had "full power and authority to make laws and statutes of sufficient validity to bind the Kingdom and people of Ireland". Section II declared that the House of Lords of Ireland had no jurisdiction to judge, affirm or reverse any judgement, sentence or decree made in any court within the Kingdom of Ireland, and that all proceedings before the House upon any such matter was declared to be null and void to all intents and purposes whatsoever.

Declaratory Act of 1766
The precedent had been set with the 1719 Irish Declaratory Act. The same fate was also meant to apply to America. The Declaratory Act had been passed - its words were law. The Declaratory Act therefore provided the British with a broad mandate to impose laws, and taxes, on the American colonies. Within a year of the passing of the Declaratory Act new trade laws were imposed on America. The new taxes, were introduced by the Townshend Acts of 1767. The Townshend Acts imposed an import tax on such items as glass, lead, paper and tea. And the previous Quartering Acts and Navigation Acts ensured that the British had the structure and the troops to enforce any future taxes. The road to revolution had been paved by these acts, the Townshend Acts of 1767 drove the American colonists further down this route.

Protesting against the Stamp Act

Protesting against the Stamp Act

 

Declaratory Act

  • Meaning and Definition of the Declaratory Act
  • History of the Declaratory Act of 1766
  • Fast Facts and info about Declaratory Act timeline
  • The Declaratory Act article is a great history resource for kids
  • Social Studies Homework help for kids on the Declaratory Act of 1766

Colonial America - The Land of the Brave

 

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