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Taxation Without Representation

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Taxation without representation refers to a governance issue wherein a particular group of citizens are taxed by their government without their consent, or without a representative on hand to present their views regarding proposed taxes. In 1764-1765, taxation without representation became a political battle cry in Britain's North American colonies against taxes the British parliament imposed on sugar, currency, and stamps. Protests over taxation without representation continued through the ensuing ten years, culminating with the colonies declaring independence in 1776. Taxation without representation has had more recent uses as a political slogan. British Prime Minister John Major reversed the reference to taxation without representation as "representation without taxation" during an address to the UN in 1995 criticizing the U.S. for not paying its UN dues. In 2000, the Washington, D.C. Department of Motor Vehicles began issuing license plates bearing the phrase taxation without representation. Gilles Duceppe, leader of the separatist Bloc Québécois in Quebec, Canada since 1997, regularly cites taxation without representation in defense of his party's right to representation in the Canadian parliament.

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