Unit 3 Essay: Taxation and Representation – A Debate

In the years between the end of the French and Indian War and the skirmishes at Lexington and Concord, 1763-1775, the colonies and the mother country debated the right of Parliament to legislate for the colonies. The British claimed that Parliament held this right without question, while the colonies insisted that only a body which they actually elected could tax them. While the British espoused the commonly-held notion that Parliament represented all British possessions virtually, the colonists drew on their experiences with their colonial legislatures, maintaining that the only true representation was actual representation. Read the accounts below, which are written from either a British or American point of view, and write a paper that discusses both sides of the debate.

Assigned Readings

Resolutions Stamp Act Congress The Rights of the British Colonists Asserted and Proved Declaratory Act Soame Jenyns and Samuel Johnson

Focus Questions Discuss the following questions in your essay:

British perspective: According to the documents that support the British position (Declaratory Act, Soame Jenyns and Samuel Johnson), what is the relationship of the colonies to Great Britain? What rights and authority does Great Britain have over the colonies? American perspective: According to documents supporting the American position (Resolutions of the Stamp Act Congress, The Rights of the British Colonists Asserted and Proved), what rights belong to the colonists? How do they view the relationship between the colonies and Great Britain?

Directions Your essay should be a minimum of 2 pages, and you should spend AT LEAST one page discussing each position (one page discussing the British perspective and one page discussing the American perspective. Your answer should reflect the main points from each reading, and ALL readings should be addressed in your essay. The above questions for each perspective should be addressed in your essay. Use examples from the readings to illustrate your main points.

Be sure to proof your essay before submitting it as errors in grammar and spelling will lead to a deduction in points. Use quotations when using the exact wording from the reading. As per the instructions in the syllabus, most of the essay should be in your own words and reflect your own analysis of the readings.

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