The Carten Gallery

“The Road to Revolution: The Stamp Tax Crisis of 1765”
A Traveling Exhibit Provided by the Commonwealth Museum, Boston
Wednesday, August 2nd, through Wednesday, August 30th

Lecture and Gallery Tour by Commonwealth Museum Director, Dr. Stephen Kenney: Tuesday, August 15th, 7:00 pm

King George III was twenty-five years old in 1764. Although not an absolute monarch, he wielded considerable power over the world’s greatest empire.

Some thought that the young king put his confidence in the wrong people. “We must call in bad men to govern bad men,” he explained.

Deeply in debt after the French and Indian War, the King’s advisers proposed two unpopular revenue measures for the colonies: The Sugar Act of 1764 and the Stamp Act of 1765.

The Sugar Act included a customs duty paid by merchants. It was unwelcome, but not unfamiliar. The Stamp Act was something new, a direct, internal tax that affected most colonists. Former Prime Minister William Pitt had known better. When the idea was proposed to him a few years earlier, he had declined “to burn [his] fingers with an American Stamp Act. Now, nearly every piece of paper in the colonies would require a revenue stamp. There was a firestorm of protest!

School children know what happened next: the debate about “taxation without representation,” the birth of the Liberty Tree and the Sons (and Daughters) of Liberty, the role of James Otis, Samuel Adams, and John Hancock. The story is familiar but not the back story. The events of 1765, two hundred and fifty years ago, started a complex debate about the principles of government, the importance of individual rights, and the identity of colonists as “Americans.”



About the Virginia A. Carten Gallery

Virginia A. Carten (1906 – 1986) was a local artist who expressed her generosity to the community by bequeathing a significant amount of money to Abbot Library for items relating to art and artists. A portion of that money was used to build a new gallery during the Library building renovations in 1989 – 1990. The Carten Gallery is used for exhibits of area artists whose work might include painting, photography, sculpture, multimedia and more. Those interested in exhibiting work in the Gallery should contact the Library Director, Patricia Rogers, at 781-631-1481 Ext. 222, or at

Carten Gallery
Virginia A. Carten
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