What is taxation without representation?

The subject of the right to tax the Americans, they not being represented in Parliament, had been debated in the House of Commons in March (1763) for the first time, when it was determined in the affirmative by a unanimous vote. When the news of that debate and vote reached Massachusetts, the Assembly of that colony, then in session, immediately resolved: "That the sole right of giving and granting the money of the people of this province is vested in them, as the legal representatives; and that the imposition of taxes and duties by the Parliament of Great Britain upon a people who are not represented in the House of Commons, is absolutely irreconcilable with their rights. That no man can justly take the property of another without his consent; upon which principle the right of representation in the same body which exercises the power of making laws for levying taxes, one of the main pillars of the British Constitution, is evidently founded." These ideas were speedily formulated into the maxim--Taxation without representation is tyranny; and upon that principle the Americans there after rested in opposing the taxation schemes of the mother country.

Return to Our Country, Vol II