To answer an identification, you should define and give the significance of the term.  Think about it as answering who, what, where, when, and why about a particular term.  Part of this process involves linking the ID to the other relevant information in the class (or, to put it differently, link it to the other IDs that relate to it).  For example, the ID answer below explains the causes of the Stamp Act Revolt by referring to Paying for Britain’s War and the Great Awakening.  The ID also gives a sense about what happens next by talking about the Townshend Acts that followed.  In terms of significance, this answer ties the Stamp Act Revolt to the larger themes were have been talking about.  It explains how the Stamp Act Revolt was an example of the two Revolutions and, when talking about the internal Revolution, it links the Revolt to other examples like the farm uprisings.


The Stamp Act Revolt


The Stamp Act Revolt occurred in 1765 primarily in urban areas and was a reaction to the Stamp Act and the other policies that Britain had enacted to get the colonies to pay for the French and Indian War.  Britain had begun eliminating paper money and then enacted trade restrictions that enforced mercantilism.  These policies had left people without paper money or gold and silver to pay debts or buy new goods, throwing the economy into a depression.  The Stamp Act promised to make the situation worse by taxing, among other things, official documents in gold and silver.  This would have been particularly hard on those who had been sued for unpaid debts because they would have to pay taxes on the court documents used to foreclose them. These policies greatly angered colonists both rich and poor alike.  In response to the Stamp Act, the gentry petitioned for its repeal but did not organize protests.  The Stamp Act Revolt was led by ordinary people throughout the colonies.  For example, in Boston, the revolt was led by a shoemaker named Ebenezer McIntosh.  After Boston, similar revolts emerged in every colony. The revolts involved the use of crowd action (rough music) and were directed against stamp collectors and other British officials.  For example, in Maryland, crowds in Annapolis prevented a merchant/stamp collector from landing and then burned his warehouse; when he went to Baltimore, crowds chased him away.  Probably inspired by religion and the Great Awakening, some crowds destroyed homes and luxury items, evidently believing that these items represented the sins of vanity and pride.  Both British officials and the elite Sons of Liberty condemned the crowd actions.  Nevertheless, the Revolt was successful: crowd action by ordinary people across the colonies convinced Britain to repeal the Stamp Tax.  Soon after, however, Britain tried a new set of taxes called the Townshend Acts.



The Stamp Act revolt demonstrated the two Revolutions we have been talking about in class.  It represented the first moment of crisis between the colonies and Great Britain.  Britain backed down this time, as it would during the crisis that followed the Towshend Acts, but the Stamp Act Revolt was really the beginning of the independence movement.  The Revolt was also an example of the internal Revolution between different groups of Americans.  It showed how ordinary Americans often had different ideas of liberty than the elite founding fathers.  Ordinary Americans also expressed their views differently: they used crowd action which often frightened the gentry.  The Revolt worried the gentry that ordinary Americans were going to turn the Revolution into a contest between rich and poor and that the crowd was going to include them as “the rich” who needed to be taken down.  As a result, the gentry tried to deflect criticism of “wealth” into criticism of the British in hopes of keeping the lid on the internal Revolution.  This kind of internal revolution also appeared in the farm uprisings, Indian protests, and the response of slaves to Lord Dunmore’s Proclamation.