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Definition: Townshend Acts from Chambers Dictionary of World History

British statutes imposing taxes on five categories of goods imported into the American colonies, after successful colonial resistance to the Stamp Act (1765). The Townshend Taxes likewise met resistance from the colonists, and four categories were repealed in 1770. The fifth, on tea, remained in effect until the Boston Tea Party. The Acts are named after British Chancellor of the Exchequer, Charles Townshend (1725–67), who sponsored them. → American Revolution


Summary Article: Townshend Acts
from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

Legislation passed by the British Parliament in 1767 that enforced billeting of troops, levied taxes, and imposed tighter regulations on trade in the American colonies.

The Townshend Revenue Act, the most far-reaching of the four acts, proposed by Charles Townshend, chancellor of the Exchequer, set import duties on glass, paint, paper, and tea. He characterized the duties as distinct from internal taxes levied by the despised Stamp Act, repealed in 1766. Nevertheless the colonists resented the act, seeing it as a further British effort to exert control over the colonies and a means to raise revenue. The other three acts included the Suspending Act, which suspended the New York assembly until it complied with the Quartering Act; an act establishing a new Board of Customs Commissioners and stricter and more powerful customs procedures; and an act lifting British duties on tea internally and for export to the colonies.

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