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The Boston Tea Party

The Boston Tea Party - An Event That Changed American History

The Boston Tea Party had the Sons of Liberty disguised as Mohawk Indians. Here's more about this famous incident...
Buzzle Staff
Last Updated: Aug 1, 2017
An act of protest that was undertaken by the American colonists against Great Britain, in which the American colonists destroyed many crates of tea bricks which were on the ships at the Boston harbor, is known in history as The Boston Tea Party.
The Reason
This incident took place because Britain's East India Company was sitting on large stocks of tea that they were unable to sell in England, due to which, it nearly went bankrupt. The government intervened and passed the Tea Act of 1773, which gave the company the right to export its merchandise directly to the colonies, without paying any of the regular taxes that were imposed on the colonial merchants. With this done, the company could now undersell American merchants and monopolize the colonial tea trade.
This act became inflammatory for many reasons. The first was that it infuriated the influential colonial merchants, who feared that they would be replaced and bankrupted by a powerful monopoly. Further resentment was created among those who had been excluded from the profitable trade with the East India Company's decision to grant franchises to certain American merchants for the sale of tea. The important thing, however, was that the Tea Act revived American passions about the issues of paying taxes without representation. Lord North was of the idea that most of the colonists would welcome the new law, because it would reduce the price of tea to consumers by removing middlemen. It was not to be so. Instead, the colonists responded by boycotting tea. This boycott mobilized large segments of the population, and also helped link the colonies together in a common experience of mass popular protests. Women too joined the protest.
Plans were made to prevent the East India Company from landing its cargoes in colonial ports. Apart from the Boston port, agents elsewhere were persuaded to resign, and new shipments of tea were being returned to England or warehoused. The agents at Boston refused to resign, and with the royal governor's support, preparations were made to land incoming cargoes, regardless of the opposition. When they failed to turn back the three ships in the harbor, they staged a drama.
The Event
The tea was due to land on Thursday, December 16, 1773. It was on this fateful night that the Sons of Liberty who were disguised as Mohawk Indians, left the huge protest and headed towards Griffin's Wharf. This was where the three ships―The Dartmouth, the newly arrived Eleanor, and Beaver were. Casks of tea were brought up from the hold on to the deck with great efficiency, proving that the Indians were actually longshoremen. Then the casks were opened and the tea was dumped overboard. By morning, 90,000 lbs of tea, that was estimated to cost at least ₤10,000, had been consigned to the waters of the Boston harbor. Apart from the tea and a padlock, which had been accidentally broken, everything else was intact. This incident caused tea to be washed up on the shores around Boston for weeks.
The Reaction
As expected, the act received criticism from both the British and colonial officials. Benjamin Franklin said that the tea that had been destroyed must be repaid, and he even offered to repay it with his own money. The ports of Boston were closed down by the British government, who also put in place other laws that were known as the Intolerable Acts or Coercive Acts or Punitive Acts. But this did not deter some colonists from carrying out similar acts, like the burning of the Peggy Stewart. It was the Boston Tea Party that eventually led to the American Revolution. At this time, many colonists in Boston and other parts of the country promised to abstain from tea as a protest. Instead, they resorted to drinking Balsamic hyperion, other herbal solutions, and coffee. Luckily, this social protest against tea drinking did not last long.