What Was the Boston Tea Party? by Kathleen KrullNo Taxation without Representation! The Boston Tea Party stands as an iconic event of the American Revolution—outraged by the tax on tea, American colonists chose to destroy the tea by dumping it into the water! Learn all about the famed colonialists who fought against the British Monarchy, and read about this act of rebellion from our history! With black-and-white illustrations throughout and sixteen pages of photos, the Boston Tea party is brought to life!
Boston Tea Party
The Americans were protesting both a tax on tea taxation without representation and the perceived monopoly of the East India Company. The Townshend Acts passed by Parliament in and imposing duties on various products imported into the British colonies had raised such a storm of colonial protest and noncompliance that they were repealed in , saving the duty on tea, which was retained by Parliament to demonstrate its presumed right to raise such colonial revenue without colonial approval. The merchants of Boston circumvented the act by continuing to receive tea smuggled in by Dutch traders. The tea sent to the colonies was to be carried only in East India Company ships and sold only through its own agents, bypassing the independent colonial shippers and merchants. The company thus could sell the tea at a less-than-usual price in either America or Britain; it could undersell anyone else. The perception of monopoly drove the normally conservative colonial merchants into an alliance with radicals led by Samuel Adams and his Sons of Liberty. In such cities as New York , Philadelphia , and Charleston , tea agents resigned or canceled orders, and merchants refused consignments.
At nine o'clock on the night of December 16, , a band of Bostonians disguised as Native Americans boarded the British merchant ship Dartmouth and two companion vessels anchored at Griffin's Wharf in Boston harbor. The Americans, who numbered around 70, shared a common aim: to destroy the ships' cargo of British East India Company tea. Many years later George Hewes, a 31 — year — old shoemaker and participant, recalled "We then were ordered by our commander to open the hatches and take out all the chests of tea and throw them overboard. And we immediately proceeded to execute his orders, first cutting and splitting the chests with our tomahawks, so as thoroughly to expose them to the effects of the water. Their actions, which became known as the Boston Tea Party , set in motion events that led directly to the American Revolution —
But as with most well-trod origin stories, the true history of the Boston Tea Party is far more complicated than the grammar-school version, and the real facts of what happened on that fateful night in might surprise you. The confusion is partly timing and partly semantics. An American colonist reads with concern the royal proclamation of a tax on tea in the colonies as a British soldier stands nearby with rifle and bayonet, Boston, The truth is that tea imports to the American Colonies had been taxed by the Crown since the passing of the Townshend Revenue Act , along with taxes on other commodities like paper, paint, oil and glass. It was essentially a British government bailout of the British East India Company, which was hemorrhaging money and weighed down with unsold tea.
Thirteen Colonies. Great Britain. American Patriots strongly opposed the taxes in the Townshend Act as a violation of their rights. Demonstrators, some disguised as Native Americans , destroyed an entire shipment of tea sent by the East India Company. They boarded the ships and threw the chests of tea into the Boston Harbor. The British government responded harshly and the episode escalated into the American Revolution.