(Albert Watson )
Stamp Act Proof
1765, Postal Museum
An unjust tax sparked the Revolution
In need of funds after the French and Indian War, the British imposed new taxes on the colonies, including a penny for each sheet of newsprint, which would be required to bear this stamp. “Are we not reduced from the character of free subjects to the miserable state of tributary slaves?” an angry Samuel Adams said in protest at such taxation without representation. And that wasn’t the only injustice, since the Crown could refuse newsprint to publications it disliked—censorship. Parliament repealed the Stamp Act, but it couldn’t undo the colonists’ fury. This proof is one of just 32 surviving originals from 1765.