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National DutiesCustom Houses and the Making of the American State$
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Gautham Rao

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226367071

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226367101.001.0001

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Custom Houses, Negotiated Authority, and the Bonds of Empire, 1714–1776

Custom Houses, Negotiated Authority, and the Bonds of Empire, 1714–1776

Chapter:
(p.19) Chapter One Custom Houses, Negotiated Authority, and the Bonds of Empire, 1714–1776
Source:
National Duties
Author(s):

Gautham Rao

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226367101.003.0001

Since the Glorious Revolution, Americans had grown accustomed to the presence of British imperial customhouses in their midst. British customs officials rarely enforced customs laws very conscientiously and instead preferred to look the other way as American merchants smuggled their way to lucrative markets in the West Indies and elsewhere. After 1763, though, the Empire began to insist on strict enforcement of customs laws, leading to a clash with colonial merchants. As the customhouse became a backdrop of the American Revolution, Americans rarely protested the existence of customs laws. Instead, they demanded a reversion to a slack system of enforcement that had structured imperial governance in years past.

Keywords:   American Revolution, negotiated authority, commerce

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