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Friday, May 27, 2016

Restraining Act of 1699 - The Wool Act

Long before England cracked down on the American Colonies with the Sugar Act or the Stamp Act, King William III declared the Restraining Act of 1699 which became better known as the Wool Act.

Sheep had gained a strong foothold in the colonies despite England's attempts to keep them out. England's woolen mills made a tidy profit selling cloth around the world and didn't want any competition. Some estimate that as much as 65% of England's economy rested on its cloth production.

The colonists of North America, however, proved to be an independent bunch. They not only smuggled in sheep, they started making their own clothing instead of purchasing England's expensive cloth. To add insult to injury, they did it so well, they quickly built it into an industry. When they dared to export their woolen goods to other ports, King William III issued the Wool Act.


The effect of the Wool Act was that all wool and wool products must be sold to England. And taxed. It was taxed when it left port in the colonies and taxed again when it reached England. Then England would resell it to other countries ... and even back to the American Colonies. That didn't set well with the Colonists.

Because of the Wool Act, wearing homespun, often the combination of linen and wool known as linsey woolsey, was seen as a mark of patriotism more than seventy years before the Revolution.



PeggThomas.com

12 comments:

  1. Wow that is a lot of taxes on their wool! Thanks for sharing Pegg.
    Blessings,
    Tina

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    1. It was incremental things like this that cumulatively led to the Revolutionary War. Often times we think that was just over a tea tax. But the reasons went much deeper than that.

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  2. Very interesting! Thanks for sharing. :)

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  3. Interesting! It's amazing how much history we don't know until someone else looks it up and tells us.

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    1. I'm learning a TON about this right now for a book I'm researching. Fascinating stuff ... I have to remind myself to stop researching and WRITE!

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  4. Fascinating information. There obviously were a number of reasons why the Revolutionary War was the only way for the colonists to deal with England.

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  5. I never knew this....thanks for the History lesson.

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  6. I found this post fascinating. Appreciate your research!

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