• "Such another Experiment as the Stamp-Act wou'd produce a general Revolt in America." - George Mason, 1766.

    Did a 1 cent stamp launch the American Revolution?

    In March 1765, the British Parliament announced a stamp tax. Beginning that November, American colonists would be charged taxes on a variety of printed items, including newspapers, wills, and playing cards. In most cases, the tax would be small, beginning at a half-penny. The response was surprising, at least to the men in Britain who had designed and approved the tax. American colonists, having recently fought in support of Britain, rose up in protest against the tax before it went into effect. The protests began with petitions, led to refusals to pay the tax, and eventually to property damage and harassment of officials. The Stamp Act protests established a pattern of action against British officials that would, in some cases, involve physical assault.  

    You are going to be participating in a Hands-on-History (H-O-H) activity based on documents from the Stamp Act Crisis of 1765-66.  You will have read the article “The Stamp Act – Background” and “Chapter 66 - Stamp Act and Quartering Act” from The Crucible of War and excerpts from The American Revolution, as the first pieces of information. 

    You are to read selected articles from Chapter VI “The Patterns of Rebellion” from Prologue to Revolution.  There are 13 articles – you are NOT required to read all of them.  The chapter is divided into 3 subsections, “Boycotts and Riots” (documents 37-40), “The Sons of Liberty” (documents 41-47), and “The Collapse of Authority” (documents 48-49).  In addition to the introduction, you are to read ANY 2 (two) documents from “Boycotts and Riots”, and 3 (three) documents from “The Sons of Liberty” and any 1 (one) document from “The Collapse of Authority”.  (That’s a total of [six] documents.)

    You are then to prepare four (4) questions to be used in the H-O-H discussion.   You may use the questions on page 105 of the introduction as models…but your questions must be original.  You do NOT have to provide written answers to the questions

    Additionally, you need to take ANY ONE document from the six that you have read and answer the following question in a short (4-6 sentence) paragraph.

    With reference to the origin, purpose and content, analyze the value and limitations of (your reading) for historians studying the Stamp Act

    The papers you will turn in for grading will be your questions and OPCVL, the notes page that you take during the discussion, and the Process Journal.  Remember that the questions should not simply be answered with “yes” or “no” answers – but rather should be a question that adds to the discussion.  You will be graded on 1) the questions and OPCVL, 2) your participation in the H-O-H, and the notes you take while ALL discussions are taking place, 3) and the Process Journal.


    • To introduce students to major issues, events, and questions related to the origins of the American Revolution.
    • To demonstrate the value of point and counterpoint in assessing history.
    • To exercise students' analytical skills using primary and secondary sources.
    • GLOBAL CONTEXT: Orientation in time and space   Students will explore histories, turning points, and the interconnectedness of individuals and civilizations, from a global perspective