The Boston Tea Party Essay
The Boston Tea Party
The Boston Tea Party was protested by American colonists. They stood up against Great Britain. In this paper i will closely examine the boston tea party. The hard-fought American Revolution against Britain (1775-1783) was the first modern war of liberation against a colonial power. The thirteen American colonies wanted to be free from rule by Great Britain. The war was resulted with the victory of this thirteen colonies, and Americans reached to the independance.
American Revolution is a result of forcing American Colonies to pay more and more taxes by King of England, George III, and this will be the starting point of a new civilization. There were too many acts before the revolution get started. These are Sedicion Act, Alien Act, Quebec Act, Tea Act and Sugar Act. The most important act is Tea Act. The occurrence of the Boston Tea Party on 16 December 1773 was perhaps the most significant event in the period of disagreements between the British Government and American Colonists from 1763 to 1774. It effectively came about when Lord North decided to allow the East India Tea Company to sell tea in America through agents, rather than the traditional public auction system.
For financial and political reasons, the Colonists opposed this new development and the crisis exploded at the port of Boston when 90,000 pounds of tea were thrown into the harbour. Whether justified or not, the Colonists felt the British Government were taking away their right to govern themselves. From that point until mid 1772, The Revolution was still unlikely, calmer heads had prevailed despite the undying efforts of Massachusetts native and cousin of John Adams, Samuel Adams. Sam Adams traveled throughout Massachusetts and the
Colonies establishing what he called Committees of Correspondence and called for a formal separation from Britain. These Committees were designed to provide a superior communications system between the separate Colonies. Then, beginning in June 1772, a number of events took place which carried all Americans, whether they willed it or not, across the line from malcontent, to revolution, and eventual freedom.
One evening in June, near the port of Providence, in Rhode Island the British schooner Gaspee grounded herself and was set upon by a group of Colonists who put ashore English crew and then burn her to the waterline. In the following months Virginia and a number of other colonies establish official Committees of Correspondence in order to keep other colonies appraised of English activities in their respective lands. In May the English passed the Tea Tax, granting a virtual monopoly to the East India Tea Company in order to bail it out of debt and thereby avoid a massive domestic economic tragedy. The tea is not only taxed higher than before, but now the East India Tea Company is able to price gouge without any threat of
competition or governmental retribution. All over America, mass meetings are held in regard to what should be done about the tax. Following two meetings in Boston where Royal Governor Hutchinson orders the citizenry to pay the tea tax. On the night following the second meeting, Sam Adams an a number of his followers attacked the tea freighters in Boston harbor. Disguised as Native Americans, they overpowered the crews and threw their loads of tea into Boston harbor.
This event was to become known as the Boston Tea Party. In Annapolis, Maryland a similar event occurred resulting in the burning of both ships and cargoes. (“Prelude to Revolution”The American Pageant) In response to the Boston Tea Party, an enraged parliament passed the Intolerable Acts of 1774. They were designed to punish the whole of Massachusetts, and especially Boston. Worst of all was the Boston Port Act which closed Boston harbor until the lost cargoes were paid for and order was fully restored to the city. Coinciding with the ratification of the Intolerable Acts was the passing of the Quebec Act. The Quebec Act was a skilled move by the English to appease the conquered French in Canada.
It allowed them to retain their old customs, the Catholic Religion, and gain large tracts of land extending all the way south to the head of the Ohio River. In French Quebec, it was not expected that people would be able to elect legislative assemblies nor that a jury would be hired for civil cases, the British kept this aspect of the French-Canadian government and was seen by the Quebeckers as just and fair. To the Americans who valued their juries, suffrage, western lands, and often despised Catholicism, it was seen as yet another attack on them and their liberties.
It seemed clear in the Colonies that the time for action had arrived. (“Prelude to Revolution” The American Pageant “The Revolutionary War”) On March 5, 1770, a mob of Bostonians harassed Red Coat guards outside a customs house and when the harassment became unbearable, a soldier opened fire and the others followed suit. This event, the Boston Massacre, inspired one of the most effective pieces of patriotic propaganda that were becoming popular in newspapers. Paul Revere created an engraving depicting that night showing how brutal the Red Coats were, although it was the colonists who instigated it.
These propagandas were important because they influenced the common beliefs of what would define patriotic Americans. The Bostonians were against the new Tea Act, which put a heavy tax on tea. One night, a group called the Sons of Liberty led by such patriots as Samuel Adams, Paul Revere and John Adams, dressed up like Indians a dumped 342 chests of tea into Boston Harbor. This famous night called the Boston Tea Party infuriated the British government who demanded that Massachusetts pay for the lost tea. When Massachusetts refused, Britain punished Boston with the Intolerable Acts.
The ports of Boston were shut from any ships coming or going. The town meetings were forbidden. Boston was put under martial law and any soldier who misbehaved was to be sent to England to be tried because Britain thought they would not get fair trial in America. The Americans perceived this as the Englishmen getting away with their wrong doings because they were unlikely to be convicted in London. The Americans began to call George III a tyrant. The Sons of Liberty were the first to talk about separation and were the biggest threat to British sovereignty.
They began to lose a respected connection with England and would rather govern themselves like Mather Byles who would prefer to be ruled by his own countrymen (black, j 1994). Within a month after Boston was shut down, Virginia contacted the other colonies to meet in Philadelphia. Five people were killed by British soldiers, and Britain’s harsh military tactics also angered the colonists, because even those who were not involved in revolutionary tactics were accused of rebelling against the British. The Boston Massacre exemplifies how British military measures backfired and allowed the colonists to gain a sense of unity in working towards a common goal of independence.
Therefore, militarization was also a factor which led colonists to the outbreak of war with Britain, and help towards the dispute between the Britain and its American colonies. The boston tea party led to the so first Continental Congress. Fifty-six delegates assembled at Philadelphia and talked about the issue with Boston. The colonies gathered supplies to be sent and help relieve the citizens of Boston (Black, J 1994). This was a sign of unity and concern for their fellow colonies. During the Continental
Congress, the delegates wrote another Declaration of Right and Grievances asking that all laws passed by Parliament after 1763 be repealed. George III wouldn’t even receive the document though. They also began to prepare their military by organizing their militias, gathering weapons and training men. They also established the Continental Association which would not trade with Britain. The American were uniting against there new common foe and becoming Americans (David, D 1990). In the events that led up to the revolution, a sense of unity was definitely acquired, but an American identity was not as prevalent.
Although there was a strong opposition to the British government, it did not represent the entire population of the American colonies. Colonists felt the British were trying to take the power away from their colonial assemblies to govern them. They were also angry because they believed they should not be taxed simply to raise revenue for Britain. Therefore, in conclusion, I think that rhetoric of liberty and representation were the predominant issues in the dispute between Britain and American colonies, between 1763 to 1776. Who was to blaim for the boston tea party and the ensuing masacre is up for debate.
However, other factors also had an important part, but all of the other factors which have been looked at above, always angered the American colonies because they felt these factors took away the colonists liberty, and felt that it wasn’t fair for Britain to have such control over them if the colonies had no representation. Works cited 1 Black,Jeremy. War For America. New York:St. Martin’s Press,1994 2 Davis,David Brion. Rvolutions. London:Harvard Universtiy Press,1990 3 The American Pageant. Prelude to Revolution 4 From Revolution to Reconstruction. Common Sense Index I. (odur. let. rug. nl/~usa/D/1776-1800/paine/CM/sense01. htm)