Portrait of King George III by Allan Ramsay.
Portrait of King George III by Allan Ramsay.

Declaratory Act

March 18, 1766

The Declaratory Act was enacted by British Parliament on March 18, 1766 and asserted Great Britain's authority over the colonies.

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On March 22, 1765, Parliament passed the Stamp Act, the first direct tax imposed on colonial Americans. To Parliament’s great surprise, outraged Americans responded angrily with legislative protests and street violence. Taken aback by colonial reaction, and succumbing to pressure from British merchants who were suffering financially from American boycotts, Parliament was forced to repeal the Stamp Act on March 18, 1766. On the same day, however, Parliament enacted the Declaratory Act, affirming its dominion over the American colonies. The Declaratory Act stated that Parliament “had, hath, and of right ought to have, full power and authority to make laws and statutes of sufficient force and validity to bind the colonies and people of America…in all cases whatsoever.” The uncompromising nature and intent of the Declaratory Act created a schism between Great Britain and the American colonies that would prove to be irreparable.

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Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Article Title Declaratory Act
  • Coverage March 18, 1766
  • Author
  • Keywords declaratory act
  • Website Name American History Central
  • Access Date January 18, 2022
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update February 11, 2021
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