The Townshend Act interfered with colonial commerce and led to a change in colonists’ consumption habits and colonial merchants’ purchasing. It significantly contributed to the debate over indirect taxation that eventually led to the outbreak of the American Revolution.
Often called the
This Townshend crisis, as it was commonly called, continued, and in 1768, the Massachusetts Assembly asked Samuel Adams to draft a circular letter to the other colonial legislatures denouncing the Townshend Acts as a whole. In response to this rebellious act and to pressure from British merchants who were losing money, the British government dispatched more customs agents to the colonies to enforce the acts. Tensions increased on both sides until violence erupted in the Boston Massacre of 1770. After this incident, Parliament retreated from its position by repealing all of the Townshend duties except that on tea.
During the time the Townshend Act of 1767 was in effect, colonial imports from Britain decreased by 40 percent. As a result, the duty raised only 20,000, rather than the anticipated 40,000, for the British coffers.
Colonial economic systems
Stamp Act of 1765
Tea Act of 1773