The Stamp Act of 1765 ("Duties in American Colonies Act 1765") was the fourth Stamp Act to be passed by the Parliament of Great Britain but the first attempt to impose such a direct tax on its American colonies. The act required all legal documents, permits, commercial contracts, newspapers, wills, pamphlets, and playing cards in the colonies to carry a tax stamp. It was part of an economic program directly affecting colonial policy that was initiated in response to Britain's greatly increased national debt incurred during the British victory in the Seven Years War (the North American theater of the war was referred to as the French and Indian War).
Britain decided to maintain a significant military presence in North America due to the added defense requirements resulting from the vast new territories acquired during the war and conflict with American Indians in the western frontier exemplified by the outbreak of Pontiac's Rebellion in 1763. The British felt that the colonies were the primary beneficiaries of these military preparations, and should pay for at least a portion of the current and future expenses directly incurred in North America.