Sugar Act & Stamp Act – George Grenville Generating Revenue

How many people haven’t heard this statement – “taxation without representation”? For those who have not, this proclamation came about from the original American colonists’ dislike of George Grenville and his creative ways of generating revenue from the colonists.

Should England continue to tax the colonists even in the far away New World? Additionally, was it fair and equitable to place new taxes on the colonists to generate revenue for the defense of their own empire’s safe expansion into the New World?

George Grenville was a well known and extremely active man in Britain’s politics. He worked alongside Prime Minister Earl of Bute and he helped to put an end to the Seven Years War which occurred in the new World that they called America, as stated in the biography of “George Grenville (1712-1770)” authored by Bloy, Marjorie and retrieved February 2, 2011 from a segment posted on (

After the war had ended, Prime Minister Earl of Bute, asked Grenville to take over as Prime Minister of Parliament. Accepting the offer, Grenville felt the pressure to restock Britain’s treasury which was near empty – thanks to the war. His idea to refill Britain’s coffers was to place taxes on the colonists who lived in the New World. Little did Grenville realize how much hatred and conflict this would generate between the colonists, and himself as a result of these new tax laws he was imposing.

According to the authors of “A Patriot’s History of the United States”, (Schweikart & Allen, 2007 p. 62), they state that George Grenville “never met a tax he didn’t like.” Grenville’s analysis was that the colonists were under taxed and lightly burdened with the cost of their own defense”. He wanted everyone to bear the burden for their protection. Therefore, Grenville sought out on a quest for new ideas to generate the revenue England desperately wanted from the colonists.

Grenville was not interested in-so-much in the regulation of trade; his main objectives were to raise revenue. He had a knack for putting in motion the necessary pieces to sell his new tax ideas to the British Parliament. He was a master of accomplishing his revenue raising task at hand.

In April 1764, The Revenue Act was passed, and although it was commonly called The Sugar Act as stated in our text book, “U.S. A Narrative History” authored by (James West Davidson, 2009 p.106-108), it was otherwise referred to as The Grenville Act as referenced by author (Van Tyne, C.H., 1955 p. 228) in “The Causes of the War on Independence”. The ultimate goal of The Sugar Act was to place a tax on all the molasses, wine, coffee and sugar trade which unquestionably was to produce revenue from the colonists. England insisted they share in the cost of supplying a defensive front.

Within the next two years, Grenville proposed and the Parliament approved The Currency Act of 1764, which gave Parliament control over the colonial currency system, “The Stamp Act Controversy” retrieved on January 17, 2011 from an article posted on (
and The Quartering Act of 1765, which forced colonists to supply the British soldiers with accommodations while stationed near their colony. Clearly, not only was Grenville creating new tax laws all of which brought on great hardship to the colonists, furthermore, his intent was to keep the colonists under England’s tight control. [Pushing Colonist to want seperation]//Pushing Colonist to want seperation//

With the Parliament’s ratification of George Grenville’s The Stamp Act in late 1765, which stated that every legal document from newspapers to playing cards to dice and college diplomas as well as commercial paper, were all subject too, and required to bear a stamp which signified that the tax had been paid on the that particular document.

Grenville and Parliament set steep penalties for the abusers. Abuser and evaders were tried in the British ruling courts even though the colonists were not allowed to participate in choosing any of the members who held seats in the British courts. They were not allowed to be tried by a jury of their peers within the colonies. England could not take the chance that fellow colonists would be sympathetic to any dislike with paying the newly imposed British taxes and revolt.

In conclusion, high taxes were one of the very reasons the colonists left England, as well their desire of pioneering into a new land. Unfortunately, even in the New World, the colonists found themselves right back with a collection of new British taxes to bear, only this time it was “taxation without representation” and something certainly had to and was about to change history forever.
Picture of George Grenville retrieved
February 20, 2011from

imagesCA8S49JN.jpg imagesCAMBJ81Z.jpg
Picture of various required stamps from The Stamp Act of 1765 and
to the right shows a picture of The Sugar Act of 1764
Retrieved February 18, 2011 from

Works Cited
Schweikart, Larry, & Allen, Michael (2007). “A Patriot’s History of The United States”. New York: The Penguin Group. Print.
Davidson, James West (2009). “U.S. A Narrative History”. (1st Ed.). McGraw-Hill. Print.
Lefle, Hugh T. (1955). “The Causes of The War on Independence”. Retrieved from
U.S. History, Pre-Columbian to the New Millennium (1942). “The Stamp Act Controversy”. Retrieved January 17, 2011 from
Bloy, Marjorie. “George Grenville (1712-1770)”. Retrieved February 2, 2011 from

Debbie Smith / Kelli Taylor

Counter Argument
(Travis Miller)

The chain of events that lead to the United States becoming what it is today might stem straight from Grenville and his Sugar and Stamp Acts put on the colonists. The rejection of the taxes by the colonist completely ruined Britain’s idea in the first place of trying to gain money back. Instead of keeping control of their soon to be new empire and gaining money, they found themselves in another war after the Seven Years War, losing money, and losing a part of their growing empire.

Although I’m glad now that the colonists opposed these taxes, I’m not sure if I lived in that time it was the smartest thing to do. The taxes were looked at as unfair and harsh, however, I think the colonists overreacted to them. Congress was trying to keep control of their growing empire, while the colonists were trying to grow apart, which is why the war eventually happened, but I believe the colonists are lucky everything worked out for them the way it did. Just because you leave a country I don’t think one gets to be free from taxes, which is why I don’t understand why they opposed the taxes. The country they came from needed money and I don’t think the taxes were that bad to completely reject them. Like I said earlier, I don’t think rejecting the taxes were such a good idea. The British army was a lot larger than the colonies army and the fact that the colonies actually won baffled many people. The colonies could have gotten them self in a lot worse than condition than they were in while they were being taxed, but they took a risk and it worked out.

All in all, the fact that the colonists didn’t agree with the taxes helped them become who they are today, my argument is just that I think they overreacted and could have dealt with the taxes until something more drastic or serious happened. They could have waited for a better reason to break away from the oppression and kept a better relationship with Britain.