I’m by no means a scholar on the subject, but my reading on the period suggests that the Stamp Tax and Tea Tax were mainly hurting the richest citizens of the period. Did the average Johnny Tremain care about them? Were his/her finances affected?
What stamp tax? If you mean stamp duty, then yes, lots of non-rich citizens seem to care a great deal about it. There was recently a huge flurry of house-buying to beat the increase in stamp duty. Last week I believe a record number of properties changed hands in the UK.
I’m sure he means this one: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stamp_Act_1765
The Stamp Act hit just about everybody in the colonies in one way or another. Did they all care enough to rebel? No. Did they all think it was a raw deal? Probably.
If you set out to design broad-based taxes that would hit as many people as possible, you couldn’t do much better than the stamp and tea taxes. Indeed, from the British point of view, that was their appeal–they spread the pain around, rather than falling on one class that would scream especially loud.
Granted, the stamp tax on legal documents wouldn’t affect you much if you didn’t own property. But it went beyond legal documents to any printed material, including newspapers and even (for the illiterate) playing cards and dice!. That’s reaching pretty far down the economic ladder.
And tea was very much an everyman drink, probably more so than today when coffee and cola have supplanted it as workaday, caffeinated beverages of choice.
Yes, I should have been more specific.
IIRC, taxes on tea led directly to Americans using coffee as a substitute to the point it is the ubiquitous morning beverage of choice for almost all of us.
The point was never the taxes or duties (well, not for most people). It was because Parliament imposed them without asking the colonists.
Note that the tea tax actually reduced the price of legally imported tea so that it would be cheaper than smuggled tea. The tea smugglers didn’t like being undercut, and rabble-roused the point that the tax was imposed upon them. This was due to earlier laws that did increase taxes on the colonies (in order to pay for protecting them from the French and Indians). Patriot propagandists deliberately confused the two.
The UK was certainly in the right in asking for the colonists to pay for their own defense, but instead of telling the colonies “We need $x from you; figure out how to raise it,” they imposed their own solutions.