Robert Walpole, Painting

The Molasses Act of 1733 was introduced to Parliament by Robert Walpole, the first Prime Minister of Great Britain. Image source: Wikipedia.

Molasses Act of 1733 Summary

May 17, 1733

The Molasses Act was a law passed by British Parliament to ensure profitable control of industry and commerce.

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The Molasses Act is considered part of the Acts of Trade and Navigation, which were a series of laws passed by Parliament during the 17th and 18th centuries to ensure profitable control of the industry and commerce of British colonies around the globe.

It received Royal Assent from King George II on May 17, 1733. Some of the regulations went into effect on June 24 and the remaining regulations went into effect on December 25.

The act imposed duties and shipping restrictions on sugar and molasses imported into the North American colonies. Due to its lax enforcement, however, the Molasses Act encouraged the proliferation of smuggling throughout the colonies.

When the act expired in 1763, it was replaced by the more restrictive Sugar Act of 1764. The more severe provisions of the Sugar Act angered many Americans and moved them one step further along the road to revolution.

Quick Facts

  • The Molasses Act was enacted by Parliament on December 25, 1733.
  • The Molasses Act imposed duties and shipping restrictions on sugar and molasses imported into the North American colonies.
  • The Molasses Act is considered part of the Acts of Trade and Navigation, which were a series of laws passed by Parliament through the 17th and 18th centuries to ensure profitable control of the industry and commerce of British colonies in Asia, Africa, and America.
  • When it expired in 1763, the Molasses Act was replaced by the more restrictive Sugar Act of 1764.
  • Unlike the Sugar Act of 1764, the intent of the Molasses Act emphasized regulating trade within the British Empire, rather than raising revenue.
  • Because of its lax enforcement, the Molasses Act encouraged an increase in smuggling throughout the Empire.
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Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Article Title Molasses Act of 1733 Summary
  • Coverage May 17, 1733
  • Author
  • Keywords molasses act
  • Website Name American History Central
  • Access Date May 26, 2022
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update May 6, 2022
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