I would like to start by saying that the Boston Tea Party started on December 16, 1773, and was an event when the American (future US) patriots dressed as Mohawk Indians to distract the British, then boarded the British ships of the East Indian Company and then would throw the British tea off the ship into the Atlantic Ocean. The Boston tea part meant that the Americans would throw off over 350 chests of Ceylon tea that would cost over 12 thousand British pounds. In the following essay I would like to speak about the events that preceded the Boston tea party and about the actual consequences of the Boston tea party.
One should remember that the event that preceded the Boston tea party was the French and Indian war that was extremely costly for the British Empire. In order to raise quick cash, the British king George III would increase taxes in the American colonies after the end of the war in 1763 (Wiegand, 89).
The British Empire would also want to improve control over the American local governments that appeared to gain more and more independence during the time when the British were fighting the French. Thus, in order to generate more revenues, the British would pass the stamp act of 1765, and the Townsend acts of 1767 that certainly increased tensions in the British American colonies which apparently did not want to pay to some distant country where they had not representation. Yet, apparently, it was during the time when the British Empire started to tax the US tea when the colonists would revolt and apparently start to think of the US revolution (Zinn, 42).
The reason why the American colonies would not pay the taxes, tariffs and other payments to the British Empire was because they felt they should not pay to any country where they have no representation. The British parliament would then remove virtually all taxes initially imposed on the American colonies leaving only the tax on the tea imports, which was done to show that despite the fact that the British would allow Americans not to pay all taxes, they still had the ability to impose them and to assure that everyone pays them. I have to add here that in the summer of 1773, the British would create a rather smart money-generating plan. The British East India Company was given the exclusive right to trade tea to America thus becoming the monopoly and the controller of this commodity to the colonies (Hakim, 140). Yet in order not to make Americans angry, the British would somewhat reduce the duty Americans were paying for the tea to assure that it would be unprofitable for the Americans to start their own tea trading business because the tea was as cheap as never before (Wiegand, 93). The actual tea tax actually meant only political control of the Americans by the British, simply because the price of the tea would not change drastically. The tea was one of the most important commodities during the colonial times and the British believed that the Americans would live with the new tax and accept the British control rather than non-comply and avoid tea (Zinn, 48).
The colonists on the other hand were rather liberty-minded and would not accept the British idea. The British east India Company would ship the tea to Philadelphia and New York, yet the Americans would not allow the British ships to land. In the city of Charleston, the British tea would be placed in the warehouses and not sold to the colonists but rather would be kept there till it rotted. Boston, of New England, was the only town that would allow the British ships to land, yet that certainly increased the tensions among the colonists and truly infuriated them.
As noted earlier, the actual climax of the people’s fury happened on December 16, 1773, when over 7300 Americans would gather near the harbor where the East India Company had its three ships. The Boston masses would have a meeting with the Old South Meeting House where much propaganda was put into their minds making everyone truly hate the British and their taxable tea. Yet the crowd was peaceful. Initially they ruled that the British ships should just peacefully leave the Boston’s harbor even without paying any duty and would send the message to the customs house. The customs house did not want to lose the revenue and would not allow the British ships to leave the harbor without paying the duty and that meant that the ships would not leave the harbor without selling or at least unloading the tea (Wiegand, 97).
The American people were infuriated and would contrive a plan to punish the British. The same night over 200 American colonists would paint their faces as Indians and gather together near the harbor. They would yell some Indian war cries and would get onto the three British ships loaded with tea. Within hours, all that tea would be dumped into the Atlantic Ocean (Zinn, 51).
While the majority of the American colonists were happy, the British Empire was in rage. The next year the British parliament would create a series of Intolerable Acts that would be directed towards improving discipline in the American colonies. The Boston harbor would be closed in 1774 (Hakim, 142). Needless to note that such series of actions would mean that Americans hardly had any choice but to either get back to the time when they paid all the taxes to the British or to revolt and form their own country. The Americans decided to resist the troops and that laid way to the revolutionary war.
Wiegand, Steve, U.S. History for Dummies, McGraw Hill, 2001.
Zinn, Howard, People’s History of the United States : 1492-Present, Prentice Hall, 2001.
Hakim, Joy, Freedom: A History of US, NY Random House, 2000.