The writ enabled custom officials to search any vessel or building that they suspected was carrying smuggled goods. The colonists were concerned and openly opposed the writs of assistance because they believed that the instrument infringed on their rights.
Correspondingly, why is the writs of assistance important?
General writs of assistance played an important role in the increasing tensions that led to the American Revolution and the creation of the United States of America. Colonists protested that the writs violated their rights as British subjects. The colonists had several problems with these writs.
Why were the colonists upset about the writs of assistance?
Because it taxed them without their representation. They wanted to raise taxes in their own legislatures. How did writs of assistance differ from present day search warrants? British customs officials with a writ of assistance could enter any house, ship, or warehouse and ransack the place looking for smuggled goods.
When were the writs of assistance?
WRITS OF ASSISTANCE were general search warrants issued to the customs officers by the colonial superior courts. They were first issued in Massachusetts in 1751 and remained fairly uncontroversial until 1761, when the old writs expired and customs officers had to apply for new ones to replace them.