Britain gained possession of vast new territories in North America in the 1763 Treaty of Paris. However, the British government had incurred ruinous debts in the preceding war, and the new dominions would be costly to pacify, administer and defend. They were determined to recoup some of that cost from the Thirteen American colonies. To this end, they issued a series of measures in 1764–65: the Currency Act, restricting use of paper currency; the Sugar Act, imposing customs duties; and the Stamp Act, imposing direct taxes upon the colonists for the first time. Although the rates of tax were modest, these measures infuriated the colonists. Under the slogan ‘no taxation without representation’ and through groups like the ‘Sons of Liberty’, they organized campaigns of civil unrest, culminating in the anti-customs riot, the Boston Tea Party, of 1773. The British government responded with punitive laws. The fuse of revolution was ignited.
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