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A law passed by the British government in 1765 that required the payment of a tax to Britain on a great variety of papers and documents, including newspapers, that were produced in the American colonies. Special stamps were to be attached to the papers and documents as proof that the tax had been paid. The stamp tax was the first direct tax ever levied by Britain on the Americans, who rioted in opposition. The American colonists petitioned King George III to repeal the act, which he did in 1766.