No Taxation Without Representation!!! (and only if both can be within the bounds of our legislative control)
Keywords:Stamp Act, inherited rights, British taxation system, United States colonies, internal Parliamentary taxation, taxation without representation
A colonial New Englander wrote of the inherited birthrights of British citizens in the March 2, 1765, edition of the Providence Gazette in vindication of Governor Stephen Hopkins' "The Rights of the Colonies Examined," that "the subject's right of being represented where he can be taxed, lands almost the foremost." What did he mean? Though twenty-first-century textbooks have summarized his argument in the inherited colonial maxim of "No taxation without representation," this simplification of a prevailing eighteenth-century colonial ideological premise sheds little light on the intellectual milieu in which the concept operated.1 While even in the second decade of twenty-first-century American politics many have taken up this revolutionary slogan to support their ideologies, few understand what it actually meant within its contemporary usage. It will be the purpose of this analysis to examine this ideological concept, the framework from which it evolved, and more importantly, the construct within which it operated.