The Declaratory Act was enacted by British Parliament on March 18, 1766 and asserted Great Britain's authority over the colonies.
Summary of the Declaratory Act
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 the 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.
Declaratory Act — Quick Facts
Key facts and important details about the Declaratory Act for kids doing research and students studying for the AP U.S. History (APUSH) exam.
- Date passed: The Declaratory Act was passed on March 18, 1766.
- British Monarch: King George III was the monarch when the Declaratory Act was passed.
- Parliament passed the Declaratory Act on the same day that it repealed the Stamp Act.
- The Declaratory Act affirmed 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 wording and intent of the Declaratory Act were based upon the Irish Declaratory Act of 1720.