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The Boston Tea Party was one of the most important events in History, as it paved the way for the American revolutionary war to break out, which eventually resulted in freedom from British rule.


The Boston Tea Party was merely the explosion following a long trail of the proverbial powder keg(s). The powder kegs in question were two contentious issues that had irked the British Empire

  • The poor finances of the British East India Company (Formed on 31st December 1600)

  • The dispute of the British Parliament over the American Colonies or even the very existence of that said authority

Another reason was the heavy taxation imposed on the colonies by the parliament without the proportionate representation usually practiced in other British colonies. It was only aggravated post the conclusion of the French-Indian Wars where the taxes were raised for the upkeep of British troops in the colonies.

The reason why tea, in particular, was targeted during the events of the Boston Tea Party is that the British government sought to monopolise its hold on the international tea trade by eliminating its competition by introducing acts such as an act in 1721 that required colonists to import their tea only from Great Britain. The East India Company did not export tea to the colonies; by law, the company was required to sell its tea wholesale at auctions in England. British firms bought this tea and exported it to the colonies, where they resold it to merchants in Boston, New

York, Philadelphia, and Charleston.

The Townshend Acts passed by Parliament in 1767 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imported into the British colonies had raised such a storm of colonial protest and noncompliance that they were repealed in 1770, saving the duty on tea, which was retained by Parliament to demonstrate its presumed right to raise such colonial revenue without colonial approval.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.

In 1773 Parliament passed a Tea Act designed to aid the financially troubled East India Company by granting it

  • a monopoly on all tea exported to the colonies,

  • an exemption on the export tax,

  • a “drawback” (refund) on duties owed on certain surplus quantities of tea in its possession.

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. In Boston, however, the royal governor Thomas Hutchinson determined to uphold the law and maintained that three arriving ships, the Dartmouth, Eleanor, and Beaver, should be allowed to deposit their cargoes and that appropriate duties should be honored. On the night of December 16, 1773, a group of about 60 men, encouraged by a large crowd of Bostonians, donned blankets and Indian headdresses, marched to Griffin’s Wharf, boarded the ships, and dumped the tea chests, valued at £18,000, into the water.

Events of the Boston Tea Party

At Boston Harbor, Samuel Adams, the founder of the Sons of Liberty organisation, and his followers disguised themselves as Mohawk Indians, boarded three ships in the Boston harbor, and dumped 342 chests of tea overboard. So, why was it that tea that was cheaper was thrown overboard? Well, the American colonists wanted to send a message to the British Parliament. They wanted to give vent to their demands such as, “No taxation without representation”. Samuel Adams defending these actions stated that the Tea Party was “not the act of a lawless mob, but a principled protest and the only remaining option the people had to defend their Constitutional rights.”

In retaliation, Parliament passed the series of punitive measures known in the colonies as the Intolerable Acts, including the Boston Port Bill, which shut off the city’s sea trade pending payment for the destroyed tea. The British government’s efforts to single out Massachusetts for punishment served only to unite the colonies and impel the drift toward war.

This single act spread throughout the colonies and demonstrated how far the Americans were willing to go to speak out for their freedom. The Boston Tea party served as a catalyst for the revolutionary war to break out in the following years that eventually translated into American independence from British rule.

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