Profile of the Boston Tea Party
The boat sat in the harbor until December 16th, the deadline for
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Hello, I'm Milo for About.com and today we're talking about the Boston Tea Party. Due to a great need for immediate revenue, the British Parliament passed a series of acts to tax the American colonies in the mid 1770's. One of these acts, the Tea Act, signed on May 10, 1773, essentially attempted to give the British East India Company a monopoly on the tea trade in the colonies, a status it already enjoyed in Britain. The act streamlined the process used to import tea allowing, for the control of duties so that the company could even undersell smugglers.At this time, groups of American patriots had been forming, one called the Sons of Liberty. Such groups pressured importers not to accept tea and other shipments from Britain, effectively boycotting the English products. The Tea Act was an attempt to break the boycott. Throughout the colonies the agents of the East India Trading Company had been resigning except for in Boston where two of the agents were the sons of the British appointed governor, Thomas Hutchinson.While across the colonies, ships with tea were turned back to England or their shipments seized by customs officials as there were no agents to claim them, in November of 1773, the ship Dartmouth arrived in Boston with tea and other goods. The other goods were allowed to be unloaded but patriots patrolled the docks to make sure that the tea was not. According to law, a ship had 20 days to unload its cargo. Hutchinson took a hardline stance that the tea must be unloaded and the duties paid, creating a standoff with the Sons of Liberty, led by, among others, Samuel Adams. The boat sat in the harbor until December 16th, the deadline for the ship's cargo to be unloaded.That night the Sons of Liberty, some wearing Native American costumes, clamored aboard the Dartmouth and tossed the tea shipment into the harbor. This act, while not harming any other private property, confronting any British soldier or harming any individual, and costing the East India company thousands of pounds, established in the minds of the British Parliament that Boston was the seat of colonial resistance and needed to be punished. In 1774 they passed a series of acts meant to punish and quell the colonists, especially in Massachusetts, that were called the Intolerable Acts. These were just some of the steps along the path to Revolutionary War. For more excellent, insightful, and interesting information on history check us out at About.com.