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IGHR (Samford) — Day 3 — O! the Fatal Stamp!


O! the fatal Stamp

Today’s IGHR course in Virginia geneal­ogy got to the heart of the mat­ter: Westward migra­tion and Virginia (and Virginians) in the Revolution, the War of 1812, and the Civil War.

It felt like we were cram­ming a week’s worth of instruc­tion into each 75-minute seg­ment. And, indeed, there are a lot of events and a lot of records to cover.

A cou­ple of standouts:

I had known that George Washington started the French and Indian Wars by allow­ing his troops to kill a French diplo­mat, then admit­ting cul­pa­bil­ity for the event in a French doc­u­ment he signed even though he could not read French.

I had also known that George Washington was the one of the wealth­i­est landown­ers in the United States, sub­se­quent to his mar­riage to Martha Custis.

And while I had real­ized that the Stamp Act was intro­duced in order to pay for the expen­sive French and Indian Wars, I had not con­sid­ered the fact that the folks with the most to lose because of the increased tax­a­tion were the wealthy. This was fol­lowed by the repeal of the Stamp Act and its replace­ment by the Townshend Acts which estab­lished addi­tional duties on paper, paint, lead, glass, and tea, which the colonies could nei­ther pro­duce in North America, nor buy from any­one but Britain.

Further, and even more impor­tant, is the fact that the British crown was con­tra­dict­ing itself with the Royal Proclamation of 1763 lim­it­ing expan­sion west­ward (to avoid re-starting war with the Indians), and promises to pro­vide bounty land out­side the Proclamation line to sol­diers who had served the crown in the French and Indian Wars.

So, eco­nom­i­cally, a man like George Washington was see­ing promised land grants delayed, while taxes and exter­nal con­trol from Britain was being increased. It would have been polit­i­cal and eco­nomic sui­cide for Washington and his peers to ignore these provo­ca­tions from England.

 
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