King George III portrait

Introduction

After the French and Indian War Britain was left with a huge debt.  Britain borrowed so much money during the French and Indian War that it nearly doubled its national debt.  However, Britain still felt the need to station 10,000 troops in its territories.  The British felt the troops needed to remain to protect the colonists from any possible threats from the Native Americans and former French subjects.  The colonists felt they did not need British protection because they were defending themselves for over 150 years and the British army might be used against them. Maintaining troops in North America was an added expense so in 1763 King George III chose a financial expert as his Prime Minister, George Grenville. He decided the colonists should pay for the troops themselves and in 1764 Grenville encouraged Parliament to enact a law known as the Sugar Act.

The Sugar Act did three things.

Merchants disliked the Sugar Act because they thought the new tax would hurt the rum industry. The sugar was used to make molasses, which was used to make the rum and by increasing the price of sugar, rum would be more expensive. As a result of the Sugar Act jobs would be lost, wages reduced, and trade would be restricted.

Other colonists such as Samuel Adams and James Otis opposed the Sugar Act for a different reason, they believed that the British government did not have the right to tax colonists without representation in Parliament and thus the saying   “no taxation without representation” was born.