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The British Parliament however wanted to assert its control over the colonies. In 1766 it passed the Declaratory Act. It affirmed Parliament’s right to legislate for the colonies. There was not much opposition to it as it did not introduce any new taxes. Despite the withdrawal of the Stamp Act, the British still needed money to pay its troops and other expenses in the colonies. Hence, the British Finance Minister Charles Townshend introduced new duties on imports in 1767. Known as the Townshend Acts, they introduced duties on imports to colonies such as glass, paper, paint, lead and tea. Further, the British officers were empowered to search homes and businesses for smuggled or illegal goods.
There were widespread protests against the Townshend Acts. Merchants of Boston organized boycott of British goods. Soon other colonies joined the protest. The women formed their own organization called the ‘Daughters of Liberty’. The leaders insisted on constitutional methods and asked the people to remain calm. The British mobilized more troops to encounter the protests. This angered the people further. In March 1770, resentment rose in Boston, when troops fired on a crowd which had thrown snowballs at them. There was firing by the troops resulting in many deaths. This incident is known as the Boston Massacre. It led to intense anti-British propaganda through newspapers, posters and pamphlets.
As a result of protests and boycotts, the British Parliament repealed the Townshend Acts. However, it retained the tax on tea, with the intention of encouraging the business of the East India Company by making it easy for it to take its tea to America and sell it there. This harmed the local tea trade and so it was decided to boycott this foreign tea.
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