On December 16, 1773, the Sons of Liberty dressed up as Mohawk Indians and boarded three ships in the Boston Harbor. They then dumped 342 chests (92,000 pounds) of tea into Griffin’s Wharf in Boston, Massachusetts (The Boston Tea Party). This event was known as the Boston Tea Party.
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The Boston Tea Party was a political protest because American colonists were angry at Britain for imposing Taxation without Representation. This event was the first major act of defiance to British rule over the colonists. The Boston Tea Party showed Great Britain that American colonists would not take taxation and tyranny without fighting back.
It all started in 1760, Britain was in serious debt due to the French and Indian War. Britain had beaten the French in an expensive war that took 7 years. Great Britain’s national debt was more than 122 million pounds (British Reforms). To recover, King George III and British Parliament imposed a series of taxes on American colonists to help pay those debts. They were also looking for ways to regain control over the colonial governments that had become increasingly independent while the Crown was distracted by the war (Tea Party 1773).
Parliament made the colonists pay taxes by imposing The Stamp Act of 1765. The Stamp Act taxed the colonists on every piece of paper they used, including playing cards, business licenses, newspapers, legal documents, and more. The colonists were then taxed with The Townshend Acts of 1767. The Townshend Acts taxed needs like paint, paper, oil, glass, and lead (The Boston Tea Party). Paying all these taxes had created heavy tension between the Colonists and Britain. A group called The Sons of Liberty arose and boycotted these taxes by not buying British products, until Parliament crossed the line and passed The Tea Act of May 10, 1773 (Crompton, Samuel Etinde).
The British East India Company was on the brink of financial collapse. Lord North decided to grant the British East India Company a trading monopoly with the American colonies meaning American colonies could only buy their tea from Britain. Parliament’s Tea Act affected all colonists. A British citizen who didn’t drink tea was like a Roman who didn’t want to be a soldier.
One night, British ships sailed into the Boston Harbor carrying 342 chests of tea. The Sons of Liberty (about 60 men) encouraged by a large crowd of 7,000 men and women, draped in blankets and Indian headdresses to look like the Mohawk Indian Tribe, boarded the ships at night (Britannica). They then dumped all British tea into the Harbor and fled. A Memoir of George R. T. Hewes states After we had cleared the ships of the tea, it was discovered that very considerable quantities of tea were floating upon the surface of the water. To prevent the possibility of any of it being saved for use, sailors and citizens beat the remaining cases with oars and paddles”” (The Spirit of ‘Seventy-Six).
With all their tea cases lost, the British had lost even more money by having their product ruined. Not a single British East India Company chest of tea bound for the 13 colonies reached its destination. They knew the Colonists would not go down without a fight. Due to boycotts and protests, Parliament revoked the Townshend Revenue Acts and repealed all commodities except tea (Carp, Benjamin L.). The Tea Act was maintained to show Parliament’s power over the colonies which still angered colonists.
American Colonists had realized that without any representation in government, The British Parliament could add more taxes in the future (Crompton, Samuel Etinde). The colonists felt that it was wrong for Britain to impose taxes on them to gain revenue when the taxes were not necessary and did not help the colonies day to day life.
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