Parliament’s Declaratory Act of 1766 recalibrated the defined legislative role of colonial legislative assemblies within the North American colonies. The Act legislatively abolished colonial statutes and related regulations, and the Act rendered colonial slave statutes and related regulations “utterly null and void to all intent and purposes whatsoever.” The Act’s legal consequence was that all colonial slave statutes and related regulations became void ab initio. All members of colonial legislative assemblies were stripped of the belief that they could enact colonial statutes, laws, votes, resolutions, and related regulations without first securing Parliament’s permission. Furthermore, the legal question of whether colonial slave statues were legally valid after the Declaratory Act of 1766 was conclusively addressed and resolved by the Twelve Judges of the Court of the King’s Bench in the Somerset case in 1772… four years before the Declaration of Independence. England’s High court affirmed parliamentary sovereignty and judicially struck down colonial slave statutes and related regulations by its ruling that slavery was not “allowed and approved by the laws of this Kingdom” and could only be lawful by “positive law”… which only Parliament had the power to enact a positive law during colonial times… not any colonial assembly, as the Declaratory Act of 1766 had made plain.
The ahistorical claim that colonial patriots like Thomas Jefferson… the author of the Declaration of Independence, George Washington… America’s first president, James Madison… Father of the U. S. Constitution, John Marshall… America’s first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and others legally owned blacks living within any of the North American colonies and merely migrated their lawful ownership of Revolutionary War-era blacks from English rule have become interwoven and is inextricably intertwined within America’s historiography. This was America’s first Big Lie, as the Declaratory Act of 1766 legislatively avoided all colonial slave statutes, laws, resolutions, votes, orders, and proceedings and rendered them “utterly null and void to all intent and purposes whatsoever.” The Act reestablished Parliament’s supreme authority over the legislative assemblies within each North American colony.
The English Bill of Rights of 1689 had codified “liberty” as being a fundamental right and extended the due process protections of English law to all within the realm. No legislation of Parliament ever excluded people of African ancestry from such protections. All colonial statutes and related regulations became legal nullities. Everyone living within the North American colonies was returned to status quo ante. And Parliament saw the Declaratory Act of 1766 as a mere reaffirmation of what it considered longstanding parliamentary rights and furthered their real goal of regaining control over the colonials by eviscerating England’s wrong-headed policy of salutary neglect. Thus, Parliament thought it had made a fair bargain with the North American colonies and saw the Act as a win-win situation. It had repealed an unpopular law, the Stamp Act… colonials rejoiced that a wrong had been righted and advanced no organized resistance to the Declaratory Act of 1766 and afterward could not be heard to complain.