The Stamp Act: A Responsible Collection

What was the Stamp Act?

Passed without debate, the Stamp Act was designed to force colonists to use special stamped paper in the printing of newspapers, pamphlets, almanacs, and playing cards, and to have a stamp embossed on all commercial and legal papers. The stamp alone displayed an image of a Tudor rose framed by the word "America" and the French phrase Honi soit qui mal y pense—"Shame to him who thinks evil of it."

Great Britain was faced with a massive national debt following the Seven Years War. The debt had ranged well over 100 million dollars in 1764. English citizens in Britain were taxed at a rate that created a serious threat of revolt.Colonists greeted the arrival of the stamps, which British Parliament had enforced, with violence and economic retaliation. A general boycott of British goods began, and the Sons of Liberty staged attacks on the custom houses and homes of tax collectors in Boston.