Loading the player...

What does 'Taxation Without Representation' mean

Taxation without representation is a situation in which a government imposes taxes on a particular group of its citizens, despite the citizens not consenting or having an actual representative deliver their views when the taxation decision was made. This situation was one of the triggering events that spurred the original 13 American colonies to revolt against the British Empire.

BREAKING DOWN 'Taxation Without Representation'

To recoup losses Britain incurred defending its colonies during England’s Seven Years’ War (1756-1763), Parliament began taxing colonists directly. One tax, the Stamp Act of 1765, required affixing an embossed revenue stamp to printed documents used or created in the colonies. Stamp Act violators were tried in vice-admiralty courts that operated without a jury.

Revolt Against the Stamp Act

Colonists believed the tax was illegal because they had no Parliamentary representation and were denied the right to a trial by jury. On Oct. 9, 1765, 27 delegates from nine of the 13 colonies met at New York City’s Federal Hall to create a Stamp Act Congress. William Samuel Johnson from Connecticut, John Dickinson from Pennsylvania, John Rutledge from South Carolina and other prominent politicians met for 18 days. The delegates approved the Declaration of Rights and Grievances, stating the delegates’ joint position for other colonists to read.

Resolutions three, four and five clarified the delegates’ loyalty to the crown, stressing taxation without representation was the issue. A later resolution disputed admiralty courts conducting trials without juries, citing violation of Englishmen’s rights.

The Congress drafted three petitions for the king, House of Lords and House of Commons. Although initially ignored, boycotts of British imports and other financial pressure from the colonists led to the Stamp Act’s repeal in March 1776.

American Revolution

Due to years of increasing tensions over unjust laws and taxations, along with violence from British troops for nonconformance, the American Revolution began on April 15, 1775, with battles in Lexington and Concord. After the war ended in 1783, 4,435 troops were reported dead and 6,188 wounded.

Declaration of Independence

On June 7, 1776, Richard Henry Lee introduced a resolution to the Congress declaring the 13 colonies free from British rule. Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were among the representatives chosen to word the resolution.

The first part was a simple statement of intent, including phrases about all men being created equal and having unalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The second section listed the colonists’ grievances, including King George’s attempts to create tyranny, and why the colonists sought independence. The final paragraph dissolved the colonists’ ties with Britain.

Following Congressional debate, the colonists approved the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. As president of the Congress, John Hancock signed the document. After defeating the British in the American Revolution, the 13 colonies were officially independent of Britain.

RELATED TERMS
  1. Mercantilism

    Mercantilism was the primary economic system of trade used from ...
  2. Stamp Duty

    The tax placed on legal documents usually in the transfer of ...
  3. Taxation

    Taxation refers to the act of a taxing authority actually levying ...
  4. Double Taxing

    A tax law that causes the same earnings to be subjected to taxation ...
  5. Double Taxation

    A taxation principle referring to income taxes that are paid ...
  6. Joint Stock Company

    An organization that falls between the definitions of a partnership ...
Related Articles
  1. Taxes

    Paying Uncle Sam: From Tobacco To $1 Trillion

    The services we rely on, like education, law and security, were built on taxes.
  2. Investing

    2 Undervalued REITs To Add to Your Portfolio (AHP, CLNY)

    These two real estate bargains may offer potentially high total returns.
  3. Taxes

    Understanding Taxation

    Taxation refers to the act of a taxing authority levying tax, typically a government – federal, state, county or city – collecting revenue from citizens.
  4. Investing

    Early Monopolies: Conquest And Corruption

    This structure can be very effective, but it is also known for its abuse of power.
  5. Insights

    What is Money?

    Money: It's a part of everyone's life, and we all want it, but do you know how it gains value and how it is created?
  6. Investing

    Amendment Creates Colony NorthStar (NSAM, NRF)

    With the three-company merger expected to close in January 2017, newly-formed Colony NorthStar will be guided by a new, smaller board.
  7. Insights

    A Concise History Of Changes In U.S. Tax Law

    We look at how U.S. taxes have changed since their inception.
  8. Small Business

    From The Printing Press To The Internet

    Find out how this invention contributed to the development and evolution of the U.S. economy.
  9. Insights

    The History Of Capitalism: From Feudalism To Wall Street

    Find out how the economic system we now use was created.
  10. Insurance

    The History Of Insurance

    The first written policy appeared in Hammurabi's Code. Find out how it evolved from there.
RELATED FAQS
  1. How did mercantilism affect the colonies of Great Britain?

    Read about the effects of British mercantilism on the economy and well-being of its imperial colonies, especially the American ... Read Answer >>
  2. When did the U.S. start using paper money?

    On February 3, 1690, the Massachusetts Bay Colony issued the first paper money in the U.S., in order to pay for its war. ... Read Answer >>
  3. Who sets fiscal policy, the president or congress?

    Discover how fiscal policy is set in the United States, including how all three branches of government can affect a given ... Read Answer >>
  4. Why have most modern nations evolved into free market economies?

    Find out why world history has been dominated by free markets since the 18th century and why that trend no longer applies ... Read Answer >>
  5. How much tax does Warren Buffett think billionaires should pay?

    Discover some of the opinions on income taxation expressed by Warren Buffett, and learn how they compare with the opinions ... Read Answer >>
  6. Can the government tax your capital gains from other countries?

    Learn more about how capital gains earned in foreign countries are treated by the IRS. Discover examples of special tax situations ... Read Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Financial Statements

    Records that outline the financial activities of a business, an individual or any other entity. Financial statements are ...
  2. Operating Cost

    Expenses associated with the maintenance and administration of a business on a day-to-day basis.
  3. Money Market

    A segment of the financial market in which financial instruments with high liquidity and very short maturities are traded. ...
  4. Block (Bitcoin Block)

    Blocks are files where data pertaining to the Bitcoin network is permanently recorded.
  5. Fintech

    Fintech is a portmanteau of financial technology that describes an emerging financial services sector in the 21st century.
  6. Ex-Dividend

    A classification of trading shares when a declared dividend belongs to the seller rather than the buyer. A stock will be ...
Trading Center