Quartering Acts

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Quartering Acts

QUARTERING ACTS. 15 May 1765 and 2 June 1774. The Mutiny Act of 1765 was passed to improve discipline of the British army throughout the world, and it included a provision for quartering troops in private houses. Alarmed by the latter provision, Americans adopted the evasion of refusing to recognize any clause of the act that did not refer specifically to overseas British possessions. A supplementary act, generally known as the Quartering Act, was therefore passed—at the request of Major General Thomas Gage, commander in chief in North America—that required colonial authorities to furnish barracks and supplies to British troops in America. This Quartering Act was to take effect on 24 March 1765 and to be in force for two years; it eliminated the provision for billeting troops in private houses. Colonial assemblies not only were reluctant to vote money for such a purpose, but they also realized that compliance with this act would be evidence that they acknowledged the right of Parliament to tax them without their consent. They therefore were careful not to meet fully the requirements for supplies or else they furnished them as a gift. In 1766 a second act authorized the use of public houses and unoccupied houses for billets. On 2 June 1774 the act was applied to all the colonies and extended to include occupied dwellings.

SEE ALSO New York Assembly Suspended.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Douglas, David C., gen. ed. English Historical Documents. Vol. 9: American Colonial Documents to 1776, edited by Merrill Jensen. New York: Oxford University Press, 1955.

Shy, John. Toward Lexington: The Role of the British Army in the Coming of the American Revolution. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1965.

Thomas, Peter D. G. British Politics and the Stamp Act Crisis: The First Phase of the American Revolution, 1763–1767. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1975.

―――――――. Tea Party to Independence: The Third Phase of the American Revolution, 1773–1776. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991.

                              revised by Harold E. Selesky