What were the Townshend Acts and what effects did they have?

Charles Townshend - He came up with the taxes and laws, in part because the British had rioted over land taxes - the Townshend Duties would lower those taxes.Part of the Townshend Acts of 1767 included new "external" taxes.   The Americans had complained that the Stamp Act was an "internal" tax - paid directly to the government.   They said Parliament had the right to pass "external" or sales taxes.    So the Townshend Duties [taxes on exports] taxed a number of things colonists used - glass, lead, paint, paper, and tea.   The Americans were not happy - they again cried, "No taxation, without Lead was used for a lot of things since it could easily be hammered into many shapesrepresentation!"    There was another boycott - the Americans refused to buy items that were taxed.   All taxes were removed except for the tax on tea - Parliament wanted to show it still had the right to tax.

The Townshend Acts also took away some important rights.   The Townshend Acts re-authorized to use of blank search warrants called the Writs of Assistance.   These blank search warrants allowed the customs officials to search anyone, without giving a reason.  [Because of this, our 4th Amendment to the Constitution requires that search warrants list the specific items to be searched and their must be some evidence of a crime before a search]  The Townshend Acts took away the right of New York to have its own government.   It suspended the colonial legislature until they paid for the quartering of soldiers in their colony. 

The Townsend Acts would pay British officials to reduce our power to control them.   Before the Townshend Acts, our colonial legislatures paid the salaries of officials, like the governor and tax collectors.   The legislatures could withhold the salaries of these official if they took away the rights of the people.   If those officials were paid by the British government, then they could do what the British government wanted, even if it took away rights.   Because the boycott forced the repeal of the Townshend Acts, the British would have to rely more on their soldiers to enforce the laws.   There was already great resentment of the soldiers because of the Quartering Act and the Boston Massacre.