Virginia Resolves

What were the Virginia Resolves? It is defined as Virginia’s response to the British Parliament’s Stamp Act of 1765. It was created by the Virginia General Assembly, the legislative body of the Commonwealth of Virginia. More importantly, it is defined as one of the first acts of open revolution to a British law.

The Virginia resolves were created because of the Stamp Act. The Stamp Act was passed by Parliament to pay those whom they have been greatly indebted to after the war. The French and Indian war, wherein the British failed miserably, was the reason why the Stamp Act was passed in the first place. See, there are a lot of interconnected reasons that led to the Virginia Resolves, and all of these ultimately led to the American Revolution.


Patrick Henry speaks
Photo by: Patrickneil Creative Commons
Patrick Henry

It was on May 29, 1765 that Patrick Henry made the famous speech that helped in the passing of the Virginia Resolves. However, it wasn’t easily accepted even from their own group. There were many members of the assembly that felt that it was too much, and these conservative members were so powerful that Patrick Henry fled the colony in fear that they might harass him for devising the resolve.

The day after, a meeting was held again. With no Patrick Henry, the Virginia House of Burgesses were only able to stop the passing of one single resolve, thanks to the many supporters that Henry garnered through his plea.

The Resolves

The first resolve stated that all men of Britain in the colony, whether wandering or settling, should be treated as such as they would treat any representative of Britain. They have as much as freedom and rights as everybody else in Britain. The second resolve was to remind everybody that all the people in the colony should be treated as if they were born within England’s realm.

The talk about taxes on the Virginia Resolves starts with the third resolve. The third resolve made it clear that no unbearable tax should be imposed to anybody. It states that burdensome taxation would make the colony hard to manage. The fourth resolve states that the Virginians shouldn’t be imposed with a tax that was not passed by a body that had not gained their consent. The fifth resolve states that the Virginia General Assembly is the only one to have the right to lay taxes on people in the colony.

After a year, the Stamp Act was repealed, and the Declaratory Act was born. What did the Declaratory Act do? It simply stated that the representative authorities of Britain are the only ones that could ever make biding laws in America.

Quite simply, all it did was anger the Americans and revolt more openly against the British Parliament. The Virginia Resolves were the inspiration for a more unified Stamp Act Congress, and the realization that there could be unity among the thirteen British colonies in America.

2 responses to “Virginia Resolves”

  1. Sancho Pansa says:

    Thanks! This helped for APUSH

  2. Rija Anwar says:

    Thanks a lot. This article helped me a lot in understanding the Virginia Resolves.

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