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Scroll over the map of the colonies for more information about the protests in different colonial cities.

In 1765, Parliament passed a piece of legislation that provoked debate throughout the colonies. The Stamp Act was a revenue-raising measure designed to lower the debt Britain had accrued as a result of the French and Indian War. Under the terms of the legislation, any piece of printed matter, such as newspapers, playing cards, and legal documents, was required to bear a special stamp.

News of this measure sparked widespread protest in the colonies, ranging from verbal complaints to acts of intimidation and violence. Reaction to the act also included the first boycott of British goods. Boycotts merged private concerns, such as the purchase and consumption of goods for a household, with political ones, and many colonists found themselves engaging in political activities for the first time.

While the verbal protests and violent attacks troubled officials in England, boycotts of British imports proved even more problematic and led manufacturers and merchants in England to pressure Parliament for the act's repeal. When it was repealed in 1766, colonists rejoiced, confident that their protests had been effective.

They chose to ignore the legislation Parliament passed on the same day of the act's repeal: the Declaratory Act, which stated that Parliament had the right to legislate over the colonies in all cases.

Although the demonstrations in Boston proved the most famous, colonial protests to the Stamp Act were widespread. The act prompted colonists to join together in a Stamp Act Congress, which met in New York, the first intercolonial gathering in over ten years, to discuss their shared grievances.