The Rockingham ministry and American colonial policy, 1765-1766

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1971

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Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of this thesis was to examine the role of the first Rockingham Ministry in the development of American colonial policy by (1) analyzing each of the major policy developments to determine their purpose and effect and (2) to analyze the outside influences exerted upon the Rockingham Ministry. Methods: The methods used to obtain data for this study were to: (1) consult general secondary sources that pertained to the period immediately prior to and during the first Rockingham Ministry; (2) investigate published parliamentary documents; and (3) evaluate published personal papers of Rockingham and his contemporaries and other related published documents and memoirs. Findings: 1. The Rockingham Ministry represented the King’s necessity, not his wish. 2. The Ministry was an inexperienced group with unsettled policies. 3. The colonial taxation policy of the Rockingham Ministry expressed in the Stamp Act Repealing Act, the Declaratory Act, and portions of the Revenue act of 1766 reveal the sense of expediency which prevailed among the ministry in this area and its deferential attitude toward the commercial interests and William Pitt. 4. The regulation of trade policy of the Ministry was stated in the Revenue Act of 1766 and the Free Port Bill. This policy was initiated by the commercial interests and the small landowners. 5. The central theme of western policies of the ministry was economy, but it proposed no unified formal western policy. 6. The part played by the Rockingham Ministry of the development of American colonial policy consisted of seeking solutions to problems as they arose that would be acceptable to the ministers, the King, William Pitt, and the commercial class and which would result in its continuance in office. Weak as it was, it did manage to retain power for slightly more than a year.

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Keywords

Rockingham Ministry, colonial policy, outside influences

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