This Day in History: Stamp Act Congress Convenes in Protest

October 7, 1765 – On this day in 1765, the Stamp Act Congress convened in New York City. Representatives from nine colonies met to protest the Stamp Act, which imposed the first direct tax by the British Crown on American colonies. The passage of the Stamp Act is often cited as one of the first catalysts of the American Revolution, as some people living in the colonies felt they were being unfairly taxed without representation in Parliament.

The Boston Gazette and Country Journal published a page-long criticism of the Stamp Act on that day. The newspaper reads, in part:

“AWAKE! – Awake, my Countrymen, and, by a regular & legal Opposition, defeat the Designs of those who enslave us and our Posterity. Nothing is wanting but your own Resolution…Be Men, and make the Experiment. This is your Duty, your bounden, your indispensable Duty.”

The front page of the Boston Gazette and Country Journal, Oct. 7, 1765. Click the image to enlarge.

The bottom right corner of the page shows a skull and crossbones surrounded by the words, “Hereabouts will be the Place to affix the STAMP.” This imagery was common during protests of the Stamp Act, as the skull and crossbones was meant to depict the effects of unfair taxation on the colonies.

Closer look at the skull and crossbones image where the stamp would be placed.

View the American Antiquarian Society catalog record for the Boston Gazette and Country Journal here:

Watch a video featuring this blog post here:

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Ana Pietrewicz

Ana Pietrewicz is the Library Digitization Assistant at AAS.

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