The colonists immediately questioned the validity of the Sugar Act. Baltimore Map Tourist Attractions Traditionally, the colonists had not questioned Parliament's power to regulate trade for the benefit of the mother country. However, since the colonists had always taxed themselves, they viewed the new policy of direct taxation as an overstepping of parliamentary power. Public protests began, and the political slogan no taxation without representation, became popular. Many colonial leaders opposed the tightening of British control over the colonies and sent letters of protest, which, for the most part, went unheeded.
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Widespread outrage over the controversial new tax and a perceived lack of political power led to unifying movements throughout most of the colonies.
As a form of protest against the Sugar Act, the later Stamp Act, and other tax measures, a boycott of all British goods was enforced in Boston, Philadelphia, and New York. For the next few years, colonists brewed native sage and sassafras and abstained from British tea. They wore homemade clothing instead of British fashions. By 1766, the effects of the boycott began to take hold in Britain, and British businessmen began to plead with Parliament for relief. During this time, the king fired Grenville over an issue of office appointments and replaced him with the Marquis of Rockingham.
Rockingham, who was more sympathetic to the views of the colonists than Grenville, responded by persuading Parliament to repeal the Stamp Act and lower the sugar tax from 3 pence to 1. Ironically, the revenue collected under the Sugar Act contributed considerably less than 1 percent to the British annual budget. Yet, it was an extremely significant measure, since it was the first of a long line of new tax measures that ultimately led to colonial rebellion, the Revolution, and finally Country independence.