Q:

What were the causes of the Townshend Acts?

A:

Quick Answer

In 1767, Parliament introduced the Townshend Acts in the American colonies to cover the expenses of running the colonial government. From 1756 to 1763, the British government had incurred major financial debts during the Seven Years' War, and earlier efforts to regain those funds failed when the Stamp Act caused colonial revolt and was repealed. British legislators also believed an indirect tax would be better received than another direct tax.

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Full Answer

Many American colonists, such as Benjamin Franklin, resisted unfair taxation because they had no representation or vote in Parliamentary matters. Colonists had previously set a precedent of rejecting direct taxes imposed on internal goods by the authority of Parliament, instead of the colonies' own representative assemblies. For example, the Stamp Act was considered unconstitutional because it taxed paper goods in the colonies for the sole purpose of raising money for the British government.

In contrast, the Townshend Acts were envisioned as an indirect tax, placing duties on popular imported goods, such as tea, glass, paint, lead and paper. The British government aimed to use the Townshend Acts and future legislation to reassert dominance over the colonies. Yet, the colonists still viewed these new taxes as an abuse of power and circulated a letter encouraging their representative assemblies to take action against the Townshend Acts. By April 1770, all of the Townshend Acts were repealed, except the tea tax.

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  • Q:

    What was the cause of the Townshend Act, and what were its effects?

    A:

    The cause of the Townshend Acts, a series of measures imposed upon the American colonists, was the British desire to raise revenue, punish the colonists and assert the authority of the British Parliament. The effects of the acts were widespread dissatisfaction, protests, a boycott of British goods and other civil unrest leading up to the Boston Massacre, at which five American civilians were killed by British soldiers.

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  • Q:

    What are the Townshend Revenue Acts of 1767?

    A:

    The Townshend Revenue Acts of 1767 were five acts that raised taxes on glass, paint, oil, lead, paper and tea. Their purpose was to raise revenues for British administration of the American colonies.

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  • Q:

    What were the Intolerable Acts?

    A:

    The Intolerable Acts were measures passed by the British Parliament in 1774 in reaction to the Boston Tea Party. The provisions of the acts included the closure of the port of Boston, a British government in Massachusetts, obligatory quartering of British troops and the right of royal officials to be tried in England.

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  • Q:

    What was the Declaratory Act?

    A:

    Enacted in 1766, the Declaratory Act extended the authority of Parliament to the American colonies, and it stated that the government had the right to pass laws that impacted the colonies. It was a repeal of the Stamp Act of 1765 and a change to the Sugar Act of 1764. The act was a response to boycotts from the colonies, and it was a way for the British government to save face.

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