The Townshend Acts are an agglomeration of five laws: the Indemnity Act, the Revenue Act of 1767, the Vice-Admiralty Court Act, the New York Restraining Act, and the Commissioners of Customs Act. The Townshend Acts were a series of laws passed by the British government on the American colonies in 1767. From the perspective of the British government, these laws perfectly addressed the issue of colonial inefficiency, both in terms of government and revenue generation. Townshend believed himself a genius because he really thought the laws he proposed would not be met with the same resistance in the colonies that the Stamp Act was. The second son of the 3rd Viscount Townshend, he was educated at Cambridge and Leyden. Townshend had been in and out of British politics since the early 1750s, and in 1766, he was appointed this prestigious position, where he could fill out his life’s dream of maximizing the amount of revenue generated through taxes to the British government. THE TOWNSHEND ACTS. Parliament had passed the Quartering Act of 1765in June of that year. His colonies in North America — all thirteen of them — were terribly inefficient at lining his pockets. In response to new taxes, the colonies again decided to discourage the purchase of British imports. Townshend was super wrong to think his laws would not suffer the same fate as the Stamp Act, which was protested so strongly it was eventually repealed by Parliament. Here then, let my countrymen rouse themselves, and behold the ruin hanging over their heads! It was about the status of the colonists in the eyes of the British, which saw them more as disposable hands working for a corporation rather than citizens of their empire. To link to this article in the text of an online publication, please use this URL: https://historycooperative.org/townshend-act/. Most of the colonies had relatively few troops in them. They were imposed for importing goods, which was not a direct tax on the consumption of those goods in the colonies. The colonists especially were infuriated and boycotted British goods. All of this meant too much money, and power, was staying in the colonies, instead of making its way back where it “belonged,” across the pond in the Crown’s coffers. The new revenues were to be used to pay the expenses of governors and judges. This difference in opinion pulled the two sides apart, first in the form of protests that damaged private property (like during the Boston Tea Party, for example, where rebellious colonists threw a literal fortune’s worth of tea into the ocean) then through provoked violence, and later as an all-out war. Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. But, as the king and Parliament would soon learn, the Townshend Acts probably did more harm than good in the colonies — most Americans despised their existence and used them to support claims that the British government was only looking to limit their individual freedoms, preventing the success of colonial enterprise. Why Did Parliament Pass the Townshend Acts? As a result, those with dissent as their goal began to more aggressively distribute their perspective, hoping to recruit more sympathy for the movement. When were most of the Townshend Acts repealed? In 1767, the king of England, George III, found himself with a situation on his hands. The Townshend Duties of 1767 New Taxes on Lead, Paint, Paper, Glass and Tea Enrage the Colonists O ne year after the repeal of the Stamp Act, King George III and Parliament attempted to tax the colonists again when they passed the Townshend Duties. In 1768, after such outspoken protest against the Townshend Acts, Parliament was a tad concerned about the colony of Massachusetts — specifically the city of Boston — and its loyalty to the Crown. The revnue used from these duties would be used to pay for the colonial governers and judges. Omissions? Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). In response, locals in Boston developed and frequently enjoyed the sport of taunting the Redcoats, hoping to show them the colonial displeasure at their presence. As a result of widespread protest in the American colonies, Parliament began to partially repeal the Townshend duties. These acts taxed the colonies to pay for their war debts. The assembly had refused to pay for the food, drink, housing, and transportation of British soldiers in New York. This article was most recently revised and updated by, https://www.britannica.com/event/Townshend-Acts, Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum - Townshend Acts, United States History - The Townshend Acts, Townshend Acts - Children's Encyclopedia (Ages 8-11), Townshend Acts - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up). Or, at the very least, these laws got things moving in the right direction. By the same act,a drawback for five years applied to tea re-exported f… The first act was aimed at the New York Assembly. His logic was that these were “indirect,” not direct, taxes. They were designed to collect revenue from the colonists in America by putting customs duties on imports of glass, lead, paints, paper, and tea. The Townshend Acts or Townshend Duties, refers to a series of British acts of Parliament passed during 1767 and 1768 relating to the British colonies in America. Later on in the letters, Dickinson introduces the idea that force may be needed to respond to such injustices properly and stop the British government from gaining too much authority, demonstrating the state of the revolutionary spirit a full ten years before fighting began. American colonies - American colonies - Repeal of the Stamp Act: In acting to remove the principal American grievance, the Rockinghamites made no constitutional concessions to the colonists. Townshend Acts By:Josh White. They said the Americans ought to have respected parliamentary law, and they wished the power of Parliament to be solemnly asserted in a formal resolution, as did the many foes of repeal of the Stamp Act. Townshend Acts, (June 15–July 2, 1767), in colonial U.S. history, series of four acts passed by the British Parliament in an attempt to assert what it considered to be its historic right to exert authority over the colonies through suspension of a recalcitrant representative assembly and through strict provisions for the collection of revenue duties. Parliament repealed the Townshend Acts in 1770. Ann Rutledge: Abraham Lincoln’s First True Love? 2. And furthermore, it showed that the issue wasn’t just about the taxes. After the French and Indian War the British government went into debt, so they passed the Townshend Acts for the colonies. They placed new taxes and took away some freedoms from the colonists including the following: New taxes on imports of paper, paint, lead, glass, and tea. The Indemnity Act of 1767 lowered the taxes that the British East India Company had to pay to import tea to England. It also displayed how discontent and dissent were growing rapidly in the colonies — sentiments that would continue to fester until shots were finally fired in 1776, starting the American Revolution and a new era in American history. These were payable at colonial ports and fell on lead, glass, paper, paint, and tea. It began in early 1768 and lasted until 1770, and although it didn’t have the intended effect of crippling British trade and forcing the laws to be repealed, it did show the colonists’ ability to work together to resist the Crown. It was passed explicitly to assert authority in the colonies. The Townshend Duties, formally known as the Townshend Acts, was a tax passed by the British.It was named for Charles Townshend, who was the British Prime Minister at the time.He spearheaded the acts, but he died before the detrimental effects were clear. Building off these ideas, the Massachusetts legislature, under the direction of revolutionary leaders Sam Adams and James Otis Jr., wrote the “Massachusetts Circular,” which was circulated (duh) to the other colonial legislatures and urged the colonies to resist the Townshend Acts in the name of their natural rights as British citizens. Historians vary slightly as to which acts they include under the heading "Townshend Acts", but five are often listed: The intention was to squash the growing spirit of rebellion under the king’s boot — the colonies weren’t contributing as much as they should have been, and a lot of that inefficiency was due to their unwillingness to submit. Townshend introduced the four acts, and Parliament passed them in June and July 1767. The Suspending Act prohibited the New York Assembly from conducting any further business until it complied with the financial requirements of the Quartering Act (1765) for the expenses of British troops stationed there. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. The king and Parliament ignoring the petition only sparked more animosity, but for action to be effective, those most interested in defying British law (the wealthy political elites) needed to find a way to make these issues relevant to the common man. To cite this article in an academic-style article or paper, use: Matthew Jones, "Townshend Act of 1767: Definition, Date, and Duties", History Cooperative, November 23, 2019, https://historycooperative.org/townshend-act/. King George III makes a public announcement to the American colonists about the Townshend Acts of 1767. The Commissioners of Customs Act of 1767 created a new customs board in Boston that was meant to improve the collection of taxes and import duties, and reduce smuggling and corruption. December 1767 – Massachusetts assembly met and a circular letter crafted by Samuel Adams was issued to the colonies urging the population to resist the acts. Stamp Act of 1765 and the Townshend Acts of 1767. Compensating for the loss of revenue brought about by the Indemnity Act was another reason for the imposition of the Townshend duties. In 1747 he was elected to Parliament. Charles Townshend, (born August 27, 1725—died September 4, 1767, London, England), British chancellor of the Exchequer whose measures for the taxation of the British American colonies intensified the hostilities that eventually led to the American Revolution.. This led to some heated confrontations between the two sides, which turned fatal in 1770 — British troops fired upon American colonists, killing several and irreparably changing the tone in Boston forever in an event that later became known as the Boston Massacre. Established an American Customs Board in Boston to collect taxes. These measures exacerbated American discontent, though Parliament was not made to realize how much until 1774.…. These essays, written by John Dickinson — a lawyer and politician from Pennsylvania — under the pen name “A Farmer” were meant to explain why it was so important for the colonies as a whole to resist the Townshend Acts; explaining why Parliament’s actions were wrong and illegal, he argued that concededing even the smallest amount of freedom meant Parliament would never stop taking more. Seeing as two of the five laws passed as part of the Townshend Acts dealt with taxes and duties on goods colonists commonly used, a natural protest was to boycott these goods. Clever. With tying their salary into this act, Townshend believed their loyalty would be more to the British government and crown as a result. The Townshend Acts were a series of laws passed in 1767 by British Parliament that restructured the administration of the American colonies and placed duties on certain goods being imported into them. 1. The acts posed an immediate threat to established traditions of colonial self-government, especially the practice of taxation through representative provincial assemblies. There are three different ways you can cite this article. Charles Townshend seriously fell victim to wishful thinking with this one. But even with this repeal, the damage was done, the fire already set, to the relationship between England and its colonies. Townshend Acts, (June 15–July 2, 1767), in colonial U.S. history, series of four acts passed by the British Parliament in an attempt to assert what it considered to be its historic right to exert authority over the colonies through suspension of a recalcitrant representative assembly and through strict provisions for the collection of revenue duties. Throughout the early 1770s, colonists would continue to protest laws passed by Parliament in increasingly dramatic ways until they couldn’t take it anymore and declared independence, bringing about a revolution that would open a new era in world history. With the Townshend Act, new duties were placed on imports of glass, lead, paper, tea to the Colonies from Great Britain. March 5, 2020 The Townshend Acts (or the Townshend Act) refers to a set of taxes passed by Parliament in 1767 after the Stamp Act caused rebellion and riots on both sides of the Atlantic. The act was particularly resented in New York, where the largest number of reserves were quartered, and outward defiance led directly to the Suspending Act as part of the Townshend Acts of 1767. Colonists not only objected to the new duties, but also to the way they were to be spent--and to the new bureaucracy that was to collect them. This law was meant to be a punishment for New York’s insolence, and it worked. If your web page requires an HTML link, please insert this code: Townshend Act of 1767: Definition, Date, and Duties, Gods of Death How old is the United States of America? It’s easy to assume it was the violence that motivated this, but instant messaging didn’t exist back in the 18th century and that meant it was impossible for the news to reach England that quickly. Such colonial tumult, coupled with the instability of frequently changing British ministries, resulted in repeal—on March 5, 1770, the same day as the Boston Massacre—of all revenue duties except that on tea, lifting of the Quartering Act requirements, and removal of troops from Boston, which thus temporarily averted hostilities. Parliament decided to keep the tax on tea partially to continue its protection of the East India Company, but also to maintain the precedent that Parliament did, in fact, actually have the right to tax the colonists… you know, if it wanted. Corrections? After considerable tumult, the Quartering Act was allowed to expire in 1770. Any troops on the western front were not included and were paid for out of the British treasury. Resistance to the Townshend Acts grew slowly. The Townshend Acts were passed in June of 1767. Yet, despite his passing, the laws still managed to have a profound impact on colonial relations and played an important role in motivating the events that led to the American Revolution. The passage of the Townshend Acts and the colonial response to them demonstrated the depth of difference that existed between the Crown, Parliament, and their colonial subjects. The British American colonists named the acts after Charles Townshend, who sponsored them. The most famous and influential of these were the “Letters From a Farmer in Pennsylvania,” which were published in a series from December 1767 through January 1768. The Grafton ministry adopted an energetic American policy, thanks in part to Townshend, who pushed through Parliament in the spring of 1767... A notice from New York merchant Simeon Coley on July 22, 1769, publicly acknowledging his violation of the nonimportation agreement that had been established by colonists in response to the duties imposed under the Townshend Acts. Lord Rockingham’s tenure as prime minister was not long (1765–1766). [7] The Parliament of Great Britain passed a series of acts called the Townshend Acts, beginning in 1767, in an effort to place more control over their colonies in North America, and to regain some of the money they had already spent on conflicts to defend their land in North America. The third act established strict and often arbitrary machinery of customs collection in the American colonies, including additional officers, searchers, spies, coast guard vessels, search warrants, writs of assistance, and a Board of Customs Commissioners at Boston, all to be financed out of customs revenues. Quite simply, they were called the Townshend Acts because Charles Townshend, the then-Chancellor of the Exchequer (a fancy word for treasury), was the architect behind this series of laws passed in 1767 and 1768. This decision led to a series of new laws, known collectively as the Townshend Acts, designed to improve the administration of the colonies and improve their ability to generate revenue for the Crown. It also gave local officials more power to deal with smugglers and those attempting to evade paying royal taxes — all designed to help improve the profitability of the colonies to the Crown, and also more firmly establish the rule of (British) law in America. The ring leaders of the boycott were Samuel Adams and John Dickinson. Accessed December 2, 2020. They were resisted everywhere with verbal agitation and physical violence, deliberate evasion of duties, renewed nonimportation agreements among merchants, and overt acts of hostility toward British enforcement agents, especially in Boston. [6] This act represented the Chatham ministry's new approach for generating tax revenue in the American colonies after the repeal of the Stamp Act in 1766. Unhappy with this situation, King George III did as all good British kings do: he ordered Parliament to fix it. Townshend believed that the acts would kick-start a change in the colonial government by providing the money to pay the salaries for the royal governors and judges. To help pay the expenses involved in governing the American colonies, Parliament passed the Townshend Acts, which initiated taxes on glass, lead, paint, paper, and tea. Ancient Civilizations Timeline: 16 Oldest Known Cultures From Around The World. The Townshend Acts (1767) were met with resistance in the colonies, prompting the occupation of Boston by British troops in 1768, which eventually resulted in the Boston Massacre of 1770. The second act, often called the Townshend duties or the Revenue Act, imposed direct revenue duties—that is, duties aimed not merely at regulating trade but at putting money into the British treasury. This was a direct attempt to rein in the often unruly colonial government and place it back into the service of the British. In total, there were five separate laws that made up the Townshend Acts: The New York Restraining Act of 1767 So, no cause and effect here — just pure coincidence. The Townshend Acts were four laws enacted by the British Parliament in 1767 that imposed and enforced the collection of taxes on the American colonies. Townshend Acts, proposed by Charles Townshend, Chancellor of the Exchequer, that placed a tax on common import goods and which fomented resentment of the British in the Thirteen Colonies Science [ … Trade had been severely deregulated for many years, taxes were not collected with consistency, and local colonial governments had been left largely alone to tend to the affairs of individual settlements. These products were unimportant in the total amount of American trade and Britain maintained the monopoly, meaning that they could not buy from other countries other than Britain. Encyclopaedia Britannica's editors oversee subject areas in which they have extensive knowledge, whether from years of experience gained by working on that content or via study for an advanced degree.... An American colonist reading with concern the royal proclamation of a tax on tea in the colonies, part of the Townshend Acts; political cartoon, Boston, 1767. What protest in response to the Townshend Acts killed several people because British soldiers panicked? It lowered commercial duties on tea imported to England by the East India Company and gave the company a refund of the duty for tea that was then exported to the colonies. These import taxes were forthrightly declared to be for the purpose of…, Townshend, claiming to take literally the colonial distinction between external and internal taxes, imposed external duties on a wide range of necessities, including lead, glass, paint, paper, and tea, the principal domestic beverage. The intent was similar to the Indemnity Act, but it was also meant to help the failing British East India Company — a powerful corporation that had the backing of the king, Parliament, and, most importantly, the British Army — stay afloat so as to continue playing an important role in British imperialism. The Townshend Acts imposed a new tax on wine, fruits, white and green glass (chinaware), red and white lead, painter’s colors, paper and pasteboard. The first of the Townshend Acts, sometimes simply known as the Townshend Act, was the Revenue Act of 1767. This allowed it to be sold in the colonies for cheaper, making it more competitive against smuggled Dutch tea that was much less expensive and quite detrimental to English trade. Scuba Diving History: A Deep Dive into the Depths, The Wilmot Proviso: Definition, Date, and Purpose, iPhone History: A Timeline of Every Model in Order, The First Movie Ever Made: Why and when films were invented, The History of Hollywood: The Film Industry Exposed. 1770, except for the tax on tea, which continued with the Tea Act of 1773. The Grafton ministry adopted an energetic American policy, thanks in part to Townshend, who pushed through Parliament in the spring of 1767 his famous duties on tea, glass, lead, and papers. It was the second time in the history of the colonies that a tax had been levied solely for the purpose of raising revenue. The Vice-Admiralty Court Act of 1768 changed the rules so that smugglers caught would be tried in royal naval courts, not colonial ones, and by judges who stood to collect five percent of whatever fine they imposed — all without a jury. In 1776, he was hanged in effigy, which means a doll was made to represent him and it was hanged in the town square in Boston. November 1, 1765 – Date the Stamp Act was to take effect but with no one to distribute the stamps, the act could not take effect. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. 3. In 1767, Parliament passed the Townshend Acts, which placed duties on such imported items as glass, tea, lead, paint, and paper. It turns out the colonies rejected all taxes — direct, indirect, internal, external, sales, income, any and all — that were levied without proper representation in Parliament. This relative peace disappeared in 1767 with the passage of the Townshend Acts. He died suddenly in September 1767, just months after the first four laws were enacted and several before the last one was. The Act called for each colony to provide and pay for food, housing and supplies for any British troops staying within that particular colony. Sounds sweet, right? But Charles Townshend would not live to see the full extent of his signature program. He opposed the Townshend acts and became a major proponent of American resistance to the British. December 1767 – John Dickinson, a Philadelphia lawyer, issued 12 Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania. In total, there were five separate laws that made up the Townshend Acts: The New York Restraining Act of 1767 prevented New York’s colonial government from passing new laws until it complied with the Quartering Act of 1765, which said that colonists had to provide and pay for the lodging of British soldiers stationed in the colonies. Nonimportation. ... 1767 - Townshend Revenue Act 1770 - Boston Massacre 1773 - Tea Act 1773 - Boston Tea Party 1774 - Intolerable or Coercive Acts 1774 - First Continental Congress The Boston Massacre. One ominous result was that colonists now began to believe that the…, …then chancellor of exchequer, levied duties on certain imports into the colonies, including a duty on tea, and linked this proposal with plans to remodel colonial government. If they ONCE [sic] admit, that Great-Britain may lay duties upon her exportations to us, for the purpose of levying money on us only, she then will have nothing to do, but to lay those duties on the articles which she prohibits us to manufacture — and the tragedy of American liberty is finished…If Great Britain can order us to come to her for necesaries we want, and can order us to pay what taxes she pleases before we take them away, or when we have them here, we are as abject slaves…. Designed as a smarter way to raise revenue as opposite to the heavy-handed Stamp Actnullified a year earlier. Charles Townshend (1725-1767), the second son of the Charles, 3rd Viscount Townshend, and his wife Ethelreda Harrison, is best known for the American Revenue Act of 1767 that bears his name as the "Townshend duties." The colony chose to comply and got its right to self-rule back, but it also stirred up people’s anger towards the Crown more than ever. The Townshend Acts consisted of the Suspending Act, the Revenue Act, the Indemnity Act, and the Commissioners of Customs Act. Repealing these acts was just them deciding to be nice. Updates? Coincidentally, on the same day as that conflict — March 5, 1770 — Parliament voted to repeal all of the Townshend Acts except the tax on tea.

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