Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Sugar Act or Molasses Act was a 1764 Act of the British Parliament. It imposed a tax of 3 pence per gallon of molasses purchased from the French West Indies in an attempt to force the American colonists to buy the more expensive sugar from the British West Indies. However, the British West indies did not produce enough molasses to supply the merchants of New England. Therefore, the act was widely flouted. However in 1764 the British Prime Minister, George Grenville, passed the Revenue Act which enforced the provisions of the earlier Act. The crackdown on sugar smugglers led to hardship among the rum distillers of New England and hostility to the British government. It was one of the causes of the American Revolution.
The colonists reacted to this angrily, because the Sugar Act had taken away their right to a jury trial. The Sugar Act was created to lessen the tax on molasses, therefore controlling smuggling and increasing revenue, or profit. It also imposed new duties on wine, sugar, indigo, coffee, and naval stores; it eliminated drawbacks for re-exported items; also, it established a new vice-admirality court in Halifax, N.S. The Americans mistook this trade regulation as a tax.
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