Customs Service Reform

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Following the conclusion of the Seven Years’ War, British officials had the opportunity to assess the functioning of North America as part of the emerging empire. Their findings were startling and begged for massive reform. American merchants had traded openly with the enemy during the conflict and smuggling appeared to be the rule rather than the exception. The welfare of the empire was playing second fiddle to local interests, particularly in the New England colonies. Further, the customs service — the royal agency charged with responsibility for collecting duties — was woefully inept. The cost of running the customs bureaucracy far exceeded its collections.

George Grenville

George Grenville, a leading financial expert of the time, became prime minister in the fall of 1763. In an effort to bring some order to the chaotic functioning of the customs service, he instituted the following reforms:

Most American colonists understood that Parliament had the right and the duty to enforce laws regulating trade. However, many merchants felt that some of the legislation was unfair, subordinating their needs for profit to the maneuverings of more influential businessmen in England. The reform of the customs service, coupled with other Grenville programs, began to raise concerns among American about the lessening of their rights as Englishmen.

See timeline of the American Revolution.

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Chapter 5 Digital History Center - America: A Narrative History, Brief 6th Edition
Account for and assess the importance of colonial reaction to the Grenville program, and especially the stamp tax. Analyze the counterplay of British actions and colonial reactions from the repeal of the stamp tax to the Revolution in 1775 ... ...

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