American Revolution
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Colonial America

Why did Britain tax the colonies?

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Wiki User
02/05/2010

The British government seemed it only fair to begin moderate taxation of her American colonies mainly due to the Seven Years War. British national debt during this period spiralled from £77m to £114m (Cost of funding the war) and being that British colonies and British citizens lives were at stake they would only have been neglecting their interests if they failed to protect them. Bearing this is mind had they not, the America we know of today could have been a very different place. Owing they had successfully defended their investment it seemed only logical to lower British National debt by taxing the very people they were defending (Themselves). The colonies were funded by the British and were paying no taxation on goods which had been hard earned by the rest of the tax paying British world.

From the 1850's onwards it was seen the British American colonies were consuming an ever more increasing quantity of British produce, more so than the quantities they were exporting or producing themselves so they were in fact having a very easy time.

Taxation on the American colonies began to encroach on imports such as Tobacco, Sugar, Coffee etc........ which the rest of the Empire and in any Nation would more often than not have to pay tax on. The tax being paid by the Colonies was 12.5%, compared to the "Homeland" British tax rate of around 18% at the time. So this was a relatively moderate taxation. Evidently the colonists did not see it this way and seemed happier to live a life which did not involve paying their way.

Ultimately the citizens of the U.S.A we know today are paying just as much tax as in Great Britain, but then we hear the argument for "No Taxation without Representation".

But it begs the question. If you were in a county which was being invaded by a force with lower economic prospects, weaker military and trade structures, which would surely have disrupted such gentle ways of life and ultimately imposed a great level of tax on imported goods due to it's lower status on the world stage. Would you be happy to pay for your protection from the Worlds super power? I know this question has variables and is somewhat out of context, the point to which I am making is quite similar.

My Answer... Undoubtedly - "Yes, I would pay"