Declaratory Act

The British colonies and America were bristling under the rule of Britain. They thought the rules and regulations of their government were unfair, as it left little behind to develop the respective countries. Britain institutes many such rules, as well as the Declaratory Act, during this time in the 1700s. The colonists ultimately shunned them as a result of their severity and as such, many fought against such Acts, as they did the Stamp Act, which was eventually overturned.

Support for the rescinding of the Stamp policies was on the side of not only the Americans, but as well particular British parliamentarians like William Pitt, the Elder. He was forceful with his argument and pointed out the unconstitutional nature of this British law; especially by imposing such high taxes on the colonies. It is not for the purpose of sending a message, to those in America that has been the responsibility of the colonial legislatures.

On March 18, 1766 Britain developed the Declaratory Act. It was the replacement, after the repeal of the Stamp Act. This was a time of celebration in the colonies, because of the harshness and unfairness of the Stamp Act; but things would only get harder. This victory could be considered the initial blow to the British parliament. It undoubtedly was the catalyst for the American revolt.

Read also: American Declaration of Independence in 1776

Rationale of the Declaratory Act

William Pitt received much recognition for his part in the retraction of the Stamp laws and those in the colonies celebrated, after this turn of events. People made statues of Pitt. They were set up in the streets, while his pictures were hung or erected in public halls. Somehow the significance of the Declaratory Act was not instantly considered, because everyone was busy basking in supposed defeat of the government.

The purpose of the Declaratory Act was establishing British rule in every eventuality, via laws, in the colonies. The British parliament would have jurisdiction, in America, as it did in Britain. That meant that whatever laws were repealed or approved in Britain, would also be repealed or approved in America and other British colonies. British colonies were not necessarily against the Parliamentary superiority, in enforcing laws. However, they were disgruntled about the taxation policies.

The British Declaratory Act emphasized the authority of the Parliament. It reiterated that they had all reason and rights to recommend and enforce laws over their colonies, plus America. This means that no matter the situation or context, Britain had jurisdiction; so therefore, that naturally included taxation laws, as well. Britain had before suppressed Ireland with this exact replica of the Act in 1719. The significance of the policies was to do the same to its other colonies.

Read also: Mercantilist Relationship Between the American Colonies and the British Government

Consequences of the Declaratory Act

The House of Lords of Ireland basically had no jurisdictional power to govern their own people. In the Irish Declaratory Act of 1719, it stated that Britain had all rule over the Kingdom of Ireland. It further clarified that the Parliament of Great Britain would advise the King about matters. Again it reiterated that they had all rights as well as influences to construct laws and statutes of adequate weight to connect the Kingdom and populace of Ireland. The country would be reliant on the crown. The Irish regulations stated that they could not adjudicate, assert or overturn any judgement, verdict or ruling. If there were any matters before the court, they were decided on, they should be overturned and made void.

These were the same stipulations that would govern the Americas and the colonies as well, because there was already precedent set in Ireland. The policies were now edicts and the effects of the Declaratory Act meant that Britain could inflict any policies they choose. Within a short time the parliament imposed trade and navigation laws, on America; these came by 1767, the Townshend Acts. Tea, paper, lead and glass were imported goods taxed in this new law. With their troops and existing structure, they could readily enforce these laws; thanks to the Navigation rules and the Quartering laws. More uprisings were set to happen. America would barely continue to uphold the laws sent down by Britain. Because of the effects, the colonists were considering a revolution and this revolution eventually led to the American Civil war.

Read also: Catalysts for American Revolution