Definition of the Sugar Act
The Meaning and Definition of the Sugar Act: The Sugar Act of 1764 was a British Law, passed by the Parliament of Great Britain on April 5, 1764, that was designed to raise revenue from the American colonists in the 13 Colonies.
The Act set a tax on sugar and molasses imported into the colonies which impacted the manufacture of rum in New England.
Map of the Thirteen Colonies
Purpose of the Sugar Act
The Purpose of the Sugar Act of 1764 was to:
- Reduce the rate of tax on molasses from six pence to three pence per gallon - but ensured the new tax could be collected by increased British military presence and controls
- Establish British admiralty courts for tax violators where a judge decided the outcome rather than in colonial courts
- Regulate the trade by effectively closing the legal trade to non-British suppliers. The Act was designed to stop trade between New England and the Middle colonies with French, Dutch, and Spanish in the West Indies
- Provide for the seizure of cargoes violating the new rules
- Reduce the practice of smuggling bribery, intimidation and corruption in the colonies which were used to avoid paying taxes
- The act taxed more foreign goods including wines, coffee, cambric and printed calico
- Timber and iron were also included in the products that could be traded only with England