Will Biden Nullify This Founding Principle?
Who should control taxation in America? The American citizens who live and work here or politicians who live somewhere else?
That question seemed to be settled in 1783 when Great Britain ended its war to stop the United States from becoming an independent nation.
Our revolution was precipitated by the British Parliament's repeated efforts to impose taxes on the American people even though the American colonies were not represented in Parliament.
The Parliament, for example, passed the Stamp Act in 1765.
"The provisions of the Bill required certain goods to bear a revenue stamp, similar to those already used in Great Britain, and for which a fee was payable to the government for such 'stamping,'" says an explanation of the act on the website of the British Parliament. "It sought to impose duties on all legal and official papers, such as deeds, wills and ship's paper, as well as on pamphlets, newspapers, and even on dice and playing cards."
The Americans would not have it.
"The passing of the Stamp Act, therefore, galvanized American public opinion against Britain, stimulating inter-colonial political awareness and cooperation," says the Parliament website. "Indeed it met with an open and unexpectedly determined opposition, with many arguing that it was not only unconstitutional but an infringement on their liberty, and calling for greater political freedom under the slogan of 'no taxation without representation.'"
Because of this American resistance, the British Parliament repealed the Stamp Act in 1766. But it did not surrender the authority it had claimed to levy taxes on the American people whom it did not represent.
Instead, it passed the Declaratory Act, which formally and explicitly claimed Parliament did have the right to make laws for the American people.
"That the said colonies and plantations in America have been, are, and of right ought to be, subordinate unto, and dependent upon the imperial crown and parliament of Great Britain," this act declared, "and that the King's majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the lords spiritual and temporal, and commons of Great Britain, in parliament assembled, 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, subjects of the crown of Great Britain, in all cases whatsoever."