Social Studies

Why did the Intolerable Acts have a greater impact on the colonies than earlier tax acts?

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The Intolerable Acts not only attacked the economic rights of people in the Massachusetts colony, but also removed their system of self-rule and representative government. The Intolerable Acts closed the port of Boston to imports and exports, appointed a military governor, barred town meetings, and prevented the election of local officials and the selection of jurors. Although colonists viewed earlier tax acts and acts to control trade as unconstitutional, this act actually deprived them of their civil rights. The Magna Carta and British Bill of Rights of 1689 indicate that the King is not above the law, and that certain civil rights are granted to British subjects to ensure that the King does not become to powerful. Among these rights are the right to trial by a jury of one's peers, and the power of taxation resting in the hands of an elected body. Both of these rights were removed with the tax act. The colonists had no form of economic or political defense against the King's absolute rule in Massachusetts.

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