The Boston Tea Party, a political protest by the Sons of Liberty, is an important landmark in the history of the American Revolution.
Boston Tea Party refers to the destruction of tea at the Boston harbor by the American colonists as a mark of protest against the Great Britain.
It all started with the Britain’s East India Company going bankrupt due to its inability to sell a large stock of tea in England. Resultant of this was the government issuing the Tea Act of 1773 that gave the company rights to export their commodities directly to the colonies without rendering taxes that their colonial counterparts had to.
Lord North, the then Prime Minister felt that this would be perfectly acceptable by the colonies as this would cause a reduction in rates due to the intermediates being removed. But he was greatly misunderstanding the situation. To his horror, the Americans started boycotting tea! The reasons were simple enough. One, the colonial traders were afraid of being replaced by these powerful giants. Two, many people were barred from the gainful trade as the company had decided to provide franchises to certain Americans only. This boycott played a very vital role in mobilizing mass and linking colonies in their protest. Women were not left behind this time and their involvement was worth mentioning.
Civilians started plotting against the East India Company and their cargo shipments. Agents everywhere were persuaded to resign and shipments of tea were either being returned or warehoused.
Agents in Boston, however, refused to corporate and with the governments help decided to retain the tea shipment. Governor Hutchison influenced the tea consignees not to back down. Well, they had certainly underestimated the Americans because the drama they then staged was far beyond their capabilities to stop.
On December 16, 1773 the shipment was due to land and the ships – the Dartmouth, Eleanor and Beaver had reached Griffin’s Wharf. Son’s of Liberty, discreetly leaving the huge protest, disguised themselves as Mohawks. The longshoremen efficiently emptied casks of tea into the Boston waters. 90,000 lbs of tea was lost. Accept the tea store and an unintentionally broken padlock, nothing was touched or destroyed.
The act invited reproached from the colonial officials and the British government alike. The British sealed the ports of Boston. Coercive Acts or Intolerable Acts or Punitive Acts, whatever you choose to call them, were put in action. Benjamin Franklin offered to repay the 10,000 Euros lost. It was a time of strict authority. Lord North was of the opinion, “Whatever may be the consequences, we must risk something; if we do not, all is over.”
But the Americans were not made of loose sand. These acts never deterred their intentions of carrying out similar acts. They burned the Peggy Stewart. Colonists from Boston and other parts of the world contributed by boycotting tea. Balsamic Hyperion and coffee became popular. This marked the start of the American Revolution that become a stunning example in the days to come and led to the liberty and end to discrimination that they always craved for.
The Congress Street Bridge in Boston today holds the Boston Tea Party Museum. A number of interactive exhibits, a documentary, reenactments along with the restored Eleanor and Beaver with two original chests of tea from the event can be found in this museum.
Today, drinking tea is not an issue but yes, we should give tea its due credit for staring in the act of freedom! It deserves it, right?