Land of the Brave

Sugar Act

Colonial America - Land of the Brave

Definition of the Sugar Act
The Meaning and Definition of the Sugar Act: The Sugar Act of 1764 was a British Law, passed by the Parliament of Great Britain on April 5, 1764, that was designed to raise revenue from the American colonists in the .

The Act set a tax on sugar and molasses imported into the colonies which impacted the manufacture of rum in New England.

Purpose of the Sugar Act
The Purpose of the Sugar Act of 1764 was to:

  • Reduce the rate of tax on molasses from six pence to three pence per gallon - but ensured the new tax could be collected by increased British military presence and controls
  • Establish British admiralty courts for tax violators where a judge decided the outcome rather than in colonial courts
  • Regulate the trade by effectively closing the legal trade to non-British suppliers. The Act was designed to stop trade between New England and the Middle colonies with French, Dutch, and Spanish in the West Indies
  • Provide for the seizure of cargoes violating the new rules
  • Reduce the practice of smuggling bribery, intimidation and corruption in the colonies which were used to avoid paying taxes
  • The act taxed more foreign goods including wines, coffee, cambric and printed calico
  • Timber and iron were also included in the products that could be traded only with England

Effect of the Sugar Act of 1764
The effect of the Sugar Act on the colonists was the economic impact as well as the constitutional issue of taxation without representation. The Sugar Act is also known as the American Revenue Act or the American Duties Act. The English policy of Salutary Neglect that was in effect from 1607-1763 encouraged the colonists to violate the law by bribing customs officials and smuggling. The colonists were undergoing a period of financial difficulties and their resentment was due to both the economic impact of the Sugar Act as well as the constitutional issue of taxation without representation. The Sugar Act of 1732 was seen as detrimental to Colonial America and was one of the laws that sewed the seeds of dissension and rebellion in the colonies when it was more rigorously enforced. The were some of the laws that led to anger, resentment, dissension and ultimately revolution in Colonial America - the American Revolutionary War (17751783) and the Declaration of Independence from Great Britain.

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