The Government of Great Britain, Parliament, still needed money to pay off the cost of the Seven Years War, known in the colonies as the French and Indian War. They believed that the colonists should help pay this cost since much of the fighting was done to defend them.
The Sugar Act had not generated enough money, so Parliament passed the Stamp Act. While the Sugar Act did not cause too much concern other than in New England, The Stamp Act brought about huge protests.
The Stamp Act was different. The Stamp Act required colonists to buy and place stamps on many paper goods such as newspapers, diplomas, contracts, prayer books, marriage licenses, and other legal documents. Laborers, craftsmen, farmers, lawyers, merchants, and basically everyone had to pay this tax.
Lawyers and publishers were the hardest hit. People could not afford both the lawyer and the tax. Many could not afford to buy books, not even prayer books.
This act was extremely unpopular in the colonies. It gave colonial leaders a chance to convince the colonists that they were being taxed unfairly because the colonists had no voice in government - no taxation without representation!
Stamp Act Congress: As the uproar against the Stamp Act grew, colonial leaders created a special congress - a Stamp Act Congress. Individual colonies sent delegates to New York City to attend a meeting of this special congress.
The delegates drew up a petition protesting the Stamp Act, giving their reasons, and demanding this law be repealed. They sent this petition to Parliament back in England.
This was very important. It clearly demonstrated that the colonies could and would speak with one voice.