Colonists conceded that as they were British subjects, Parliament did reserve limited powers of legislation over them. They believed that Parliament could standardize legal protocol throughout the Empire in the interest of granting all subjects access to royal justice. The colonists also accepted the role that in the interest of broad economic goals Parliament had to play in the regulation of trade throughout the Empire, and even accepted that this regulation might at some times prove disadvantageous to the colonies. Further, they acknowledged the need for loyalty to the crown and considered their responsibility to defend the Empire in time of war undeniable. However, they insisted that in all other ways they should be self-governed--that colonial assemblies alone could tax the colonists, and that in return they would not interfere with laws that regulated the empire's trade. James Otis expressed the core of the American argument at a Boston town meeting in the spring of 1765. He said "by [the British] Constitution, every man in the dominion is a free man: that no parts of His Majesty's dominions can be taxed without consent: that every part has a right to be represented in the supreme or some subordinate legislature."

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