Boston Tea Party History
The new American political organization that calls itself the Tea Party has often said that they have taken their name and purpose from the Boston Tea Party history. The accuracy of that statement is up for debate, but what is not up for debate is the history of the actual event that led to the beginning of the American Revolution from the British Empire.
Money, money, money. Long before Pink Floyd made it a song, it was a big reason for the occurrence of the Boston Tea Party. In order for England to pay for its numerous wars, all the colonies of the Empire were taxes heavily for virtually everything. And just to make sure that everything went according to plan, the King placed royal loyalists in key positions in each of the colonies to make sure that the taxes were paid.
My kingdom for a Starbucks. In the early 1700’s, tea was becoming the drink of the day, or at least it was among those who could afford it. However, the company who had previously been awarded the exclusive rights to import it to England was going broke, so the English Parliament passed the Tax Act in 1773, which gave the East India Company exclusive rights to bring tea into the American colonies where a mandatory tax would be applied in order for it to be unloaded. This wasn’t popular at all in the colonies where they had been purchasing it elsewhere at a cheaper rate.
And so it begins. When the Dartmouth arrived in Boston for the first of the taxed shipments, the events that would lead up to the Boston Tea Party began. Political radical and failed businessman Samuel Adams (who clearly preferred beer) began having meetings with the town’s elders and citizens, encouraging them to fight the tax by non-payment force the ship back to England. However, Boston’s leader at the time, Governor Thomas Hutchinson was a royal loyalist and refused to let the ship leave without unloading its cargo, thereby forcing the town to pay the tax.
Hell to the no. The history of the Boston Tea Party grew even more complicated when Adams and his growing band of discontents (now numbering 5,000) were told that Hutchinson was not giving in to the demands made by the people and announced his intention to unload the ships. Adams and his crew started roaming the streets at night, dressed so that their identities were secret and started threatening anyone who would dare take part in unloading the ship. Pressure on Hutchinson grew as two more ships arrived from the East India Company.
Adams puts his foot down. At one of the last meetings before the Boston Tea Party began, Adams encouraged the passage of a bill that would demand that the captains of the three ship depart the colonies without unloading as a protest against the crown. Initially, the captain of the Dartmouth, not wanting any trouble with the colonists agreed to comply and return to England. However, Hutchinson had the ship seized and refused to let it leave harbor until it had been completely unloaded.
“I came to kick ass and chew gum. And I’m all out of gum.” When the captain reported his inability to comply with their demands due to the intervention of Governor Hutchinson and his men, Adams and his men took matters into their own hands and created what is now known as the Boston Tea Party. Dressing up (rather unconvincingly) as Indians, they raided the port, cracked open the cases the tea was stored in and emptied the contents into the bay for the band of raiders later referred to as “saltwater tea”.