British History 2:
From the French Revolution to World War II
Topic: "Majesties and Royal Highnesses"

by Laura Cenicola & Mareike Aumann

Glossary: Townshend Acts

The Townshend Acts (1767) passed by Parliament on 29 June 1767 refer to two Acts of the Parliament of Great Britain passed in 1767, originally proposed by Charles Townshend. These laws placed a tax on common products imported into the American Colonies, such as lead, paper, paint, glass, and tea, while giving revenues from these taxes to the British governors and other officials that were normally paid by town assemblies. In contrast to the Stamp Act of 1765, the laws were not a direct tax, but rather a tax on imports. The Townshend Acts also created three new admiralty courts to try Americans and reaffirmed the legality of writs of assistance, which gave tax collectors permission to search for smuggled goods (these smuggled goods would be sold in England and the European countryside for profit to Britain).

The Townshend Acts represent the continued efforts of Parliament to place a portion of the large debt incurred by French and Indian War on the American colonies where it had been fought. However, the Acts provoked only further outrage among American colonists and helped spark the Liberty seizure and riots of 1768, their opposition best stated by the phrase "No taxation without representation"




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