After taking my Colonial America class, I found a big interest in colonial Virginia. Maybe that was because of how much I enjoyed reading Edmund Morgan or maybe it was just because on a larger scale looking at colonial Virginia completely reshaped how I viewed the colonial period — meaning that I began to appreciate each colony individually in their own time and not going “whiggy” on them.
Anywho, the course ended at the French-Indian War, so the Journal of the American Revolution has been a great resource in continuing to move down the chronology of events. Here is an article on Virginia pre-Revolution.
Parliament’s passage of the 1765 Stamp Act is rightly viewed by many as a key moment in the American Revolution. This new “internal” tax, which the British parliament adopted so that the American colonists would pay their “fair share” of Great Britain’s massive French and Indian War debt, (and also contribute to ongoing military expenses), sparked outrage and opposition throughout the colonies, not because the tax promised to be a financial burden on the colonists, but rather, because of the principle of taxation without representation. Virginians, as evidenced by Governor Francis Fauquier’s January 30, 1763 Report to the Board of Trade, were no strangers to taxation; the House of Burgesses had levied a number of new taxes in the late 1750’s to pay Virginia’s own mounting war debt. These taxes, combined with the continued trade imbalance between Virginia and Great Britain, did indeed represent an increased financial burden on the colonists. Yet, it was a burden that they could manage, in part, through their own legislature.
To better appreciate the economic situation Virginians faced in the early 1760’s, a closer look at Virginia’s economy, as characterized by Governor Francis Fauquier, is necessary. . .
Keep reading here.