The Boston Tea Party
- rumblings of discontent:
The Boston Tea Party has become so much a part of our history that we sometimes forget what really happened and why it happened.
In scanning the great causes which led to the American Revolution, the one that is most prominent in the popular judgment is the "tax on tea," or lack of it extended by GreatBritain on the mega-corporation of the time the East-India company.
At this time the East India company was being taxed heavily by the British government for its imports of tea whilst American importers such as John Hancock were importing tax free tea from Holland. Along with the general boycott of most English goods the colonies were beginning to flex their collective economic muscles.
At the time the British East India company had tremendous influence in the British parliament and due to severe financial difficulty of the company the tea act passed. The East India company would now be allowed to export its tea directlyto the colonies without paying the taxes it was paying in London. Of course this undercut the private importers such as Hancock who along with Samuel Adams created more and more public awareness of the plight of the colonies.
In our day and age a 'tax on tea' would hardly cause much of a stir in the general populace. But as with most things, if you want to know who stands to benefit the most from any decision just follow the money trail. For it was the instigation of the importers such as Hancock that stirred up the situation. However, to say that its roots are in simple economics would be slightly simplistic.
Ten years of constant agitation had educated the people of the colonies to a clear perception of their rights. This included a knowledge that it was the fixed purpose of the local government to deprive them of the one they most valued, namely, that of being taxed with their own consent, through their local assemblies, as had always been the custom, and not at thearbitrary will of the British parliament—a body in which they were notand could not be represented—three thousand miles away.
We see that these two driving forces of economic and political freedom are the cornerstones of the Boston tea party and ultimately the American revolution.
So on Thursday, December 17, 1773 a group of some 50 men, unconvincingly disguised as Mohawk Indians,moved the short distance to Griffin’s Wharf where the three ships with tea cargo weremoored. And dumped the cargo overboard.
By dawn some 45 tonnes of tea was floating in the Boston. The Boston Tea Party proved to be one of the many catalysts which led to the American revolution.
At the very least, the Boston Tea Party and the reaction that followed served to rally support for revolutionaries in the thirteen colonies who were eventually successful in their fight for independence. This along with the act of the Boston Massacre were instrumental in there becoming a truly unified front in the push towards freedom.
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