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In 1765, the British Parliament imposed stamp duties on the American colonies, setting in motion the chain of events which ultimately led to the American Revolution. This paper analyzes the practicalities of the Stamp Act to provide insights into the way in which a tax instrument that was successful in one setting failed to achieve similar success in another. The reasons for choosing stamp duties as an appropriate fiscal measure, the colonial reaction to the tax, and the way in which the tax was accounted for by the British government bureaucracy are examined. The paper demonstrates the value of using an accounting lens to provide a more nuanced interpretation of the Stamp Act crisis.



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