This artifact, featured in "Sowing the Seeds of Liberty," is an example of every day household items that took on political significance in Colonial American life. The Sugar Act of 1764 was one of many acts of the British government that was seen by American Colonials as a threat to the prosperity sought out in the new world. The taxes it would impose on imported goods would reduce colonial export of lumber, flour, cheese, and other farm products. Without the trade there was no currency to purchase manufactured goods. (See Timeline.)
The Smithsonian Education website offers an article on interpreting artifacts, entitled "Looking at Artifacts, Thinking About History," by Steven Lubar and Kathleen Kendrick. In part it points out that artifacts are "the objects we make and use...five ways to think of artifacts: artifacts tell their own stories, connect people, mean many things, capture moments, and reflect change." Local historic artifacts can be located in your town's historical society or historical museum. Other period-appropriate examples are collected at institutuions where images of their artifacts can be viewed online.
Here is a related lesson from our third-grade curriculum for use in classroom instruction: Lesson 19f
To see our third- and fifth-grade curricula in their entirety, visit the educator resources page of our website.