MS Students Explore the Stamp Act of 1765
As part of their American Revolutionary War unit, historians in Mr. Mattia’s class got their first glimpse at issues related to taxation without representation through a surprise simulation. As students prepared to take a quiz, Mr. Dittrich popped his head into the class and told Mr. Mattia that he needed to read an important e-mail. Feigning shock, Mr. Mattia delivered the news to students that, starting immediately, they would be required to pay 10 cents for every piece of paper that they use in school. In order to take their quiz, students had to figure out how to pay for the paper. While some students scrambled to find money, even paying to ensure that their classmates and friends could take the quiz, others sat in shock. Some students even wondered about the legality of this new rule.
After students took their quiz, Mr. Mattia broke the news that this was in fact just a ploy to teach them about the Stamp Act of 1765. This act, which imposed a tax on all paper documents in the colonies was the first internal tax levied directly on American colonists by the British government. Colonists argued that only their own representative assembly could tax them, and insisted that the Stamp Act was unconstitutional. The tension caused by the Stamp Act strained relations with the colonies and is viewed as one of the precursors of the American Revolutionary War.
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