This iconic 1846 lithograph by Nathaniel Currier was entitled "The Destruction of Tea at Boston Harbor"; the phrase "Boston Tea Party" had not yet become standard. The Boston Tea Party (referred to in its time simply as "the destruction of the tea" or by other informal names and so named until half a century later,[2]) was a political protest by the Sons of Liberty in Boston, a city in the British colony of Massachusetts, against the tax policy of the British government and the East India Company that controlled all the tea imported into the colonies. The Tea Party was the culmination of a resistance movement throughout British America against the Tea Act, which had been passed by the British Parliament in 1773.
The Boston Tea Party arose from two issues confronting the British Empire in 1765: the financial problems of the British East India Company, and an ongoing dispute about the extent of Parliament's authority, if any, over the British American colonies without seating any elected representation. Until 1767, the East India Company paid an ad valorem tax of about 25% on tea that it imported into Great Britain.[8] Parliament laid additional taxes on tea sold for consumption in Britain. Controversy between Great Britain and the colonies arose in the 1760s when Parliament sought, for the first time, to directly tax the colonies for the purpose of raising revenue. When new taxes were levied in the Townshend Revenue Act of 1767, Whig colonists again responded with protests and boycotts.
The Indemnity Act of 1767, which gave the East India Company a refund of the duty on tea that was re-exported to the colonies, expired in 1772. Another possible solution for reducing the growing mound of tea in the East India Company warehouses was to sell it cheaply in Europe. The North ministry's solution was the Tea Act, which received the assent of King George on May 10, 1773.[28] This act restored the East India Company's full refund on the duty for importing tea into Britain, and also permitted the company, for the first time, to export tea to the colonies on its own account. Even with the Townshend duty in effect, the Tea Act would allow the East India Company to sell tea more cheaply than before, undercutting the prices offered by smugglers. This 1775 British cartoon, "A Society of Patriotic Ladies at Edenton in North Carolina", satirizes the Edenton Tea Party, a group of women who organized a boycott of English tea. The protest movement that culminated with the Boston Tea Party was not a dispute about high taxes. In every colony except Massachusetts, protesters were able to force the tea consignees to resign or to return the tea to England.[51] In Boston, however, Governor Hutchinson was determined to hold his ground. This notice from the "Chairman of the Committee for Tarring and Feathering" in Boston denounced the tea consignees as "traitors to their country".
When the tea ship Dartmouth arrived in the Boston Harbor in late November, Whig leader Samuel Adams called for a mass meeting to be held at Faneuil Hall on November 29, 1773. Governor Hutchinson refused to grant permission for the Dartmouth to leave without paying the duty. While Samuel Adams tried to reassert control of the meeting, people poured out of the Old South Meeting House headed out to prepare to take action.


By "constitution" he referred to the idea that all governments have a constitution, written or no, and that the constitution of Great Britain could be interpreted as banning the levying of taxes without representation.
Governor Thomas Hutchinson had been urging London to take a hard line with the Sons of Liberty. In Britain, even those politicians considered friends of the colonies were appalled and this act united all parties there against the colonies. In the colonies, Benjamin Franklin stated that the destroyed tea must be repaid, all 90,000 pounds (which, at two shillings per pound, comes to ?9,000, or ?888 thousand today). In February, 1775, Britain passed the Conciliatory Resolution, which ended taxation for any colony that satisfactorily provided for the imperial defense and the upkeep of imperial officers. According to historian Alfred Young, the term "Boston Tea Party" did not appear in print until 1834.[69] Before that time, the event was usually referred to as the "destruction of the tea".
American activists from a variety of political viewpoints have invoked the Tea Party as a symbol of protest.
On December 16, 1773, after officials in Boston refused to return three shiploads of taxed tea to Britain, a group of colonists boarded the ships and destroyed the tea by throwing it into Boston Harbor. Colonists objected to the Tea Act because they believed that it violated their rights as Englishmen to "No taxation without representation," that is, be taxed only by their own elected representatives and not by a British parliament in which they were not represented.
Parliament responded in 1774 with the Coercive Acts, or Intolerable Acts, which, among other provisions, ended local self-government in Massachusetts and closed Boston's commerce. Some colonists, known in the colonies as Whigs, objected to the new tax program, arguing that it was a violation of the British Constitution. Merchants organized a non-importation agreement, and many colonists pledged to abstain from drinking British tea, with activists in New England promoting alternatives, such as domestic Labrador tea.[14] Smuggling continued apace, especially in New York and Philadelphia, where tea smuggling had always been more extensive than in Boston. Parliament passed a new act in 1772 that reduced this refund, effectively leaving a 10% duty on tea imported into Britain.[20] The act also restored the tea taxes within Britain that had been repealed in 1767, and left in place the three pence Townshend duty in the colonies.
Some members of Parliament wanted to eliminate this tax, arguing that there was no reason to provoke another colonial controversy. In Charleston, the consignees had been forced to resign by early December, and the unclaimed tea was seized by customs officials.[47] There were mass protest meetings in Philadelphia. Two more tea ships, the Eleanor and the Beaver, arrived in Boston Harbor (there was another tea ship headed for Boston, the William, but it encountered a storm and was destroyed before it could reach its destination[56]). In some cases, this involved donning what may have been elaborately prepared Mohawk costumes.[60] While disguising their individual faces was imperative, because of the illegality of their protest, dressing as Mohawk warriors was a very specific and symbolic choice. For example, the Bill of Rights of 1689 established that long-term taxes could not be levied without Parliament, and other precedents said that Parliament had to actually represent the people it ruled over, in order to "count".


Robert Murray, a New York merchant, went to Lord North with three other merchants and offered to pay for the losses, but the offer was turned down.[68] A number of colonists were inspired to carry out similar acts, such as the burning of the Peggy Stewart. The tax on tea was repealed with the Taxation of Colonies Act 1778, part of another Parliamentary attempt at conciliation that failed.
According to Young, American writers were for many years apparently reluctant to celebrate the destruction of property, and so the event was usually ignored in histories of the American Revolution. A tax bill was submitted in the 1st United States Congress even before the inauguration of George Washington.
In 1973, on the 200th anniversary of the Tea Party, a mass meeting at Faneuil Hall called for the impeachment of President Richard Nixon and protested oil companies in the ongoing oil crisis. For firsthand accounts that contradict the story that Adams gave the signal for the tea party, see L. The incident remains an iconic event of American history, and other political protests often refer to it. Protesters had successfully prevented the unloading of taxed tea in three other colonies, but in Boston, embattled Royal Governor Thomas Hutchinson refused to allow the tea to be returned to Britain.
Colonists up and down the Thirteen Colonies in turn responded to the Coercive Acts with additional acts of protest, and by convening the First Continental Congress, which petitioned the British monarch for repeal of the acts and coordinated colonial resistance to them.
Britons and British Americans agreed that, according to the constitution, British subjects could not be taxed without the consent of their elected representatives. Meanwhile, the meeting assigned twenty-five men to watch the ship and prevent the tea—including a number of chests from Davison, Newman and Co.
The Boston Tea Party eventually proved to be one of the many reactions that led to the American Revolutionary War. The bill was passed and signed into law by Washington on July 4, 1789, with a tax on tea from 6? to 20? per pound, and at double that rate if carried on a foreign-flagged vessel.
Alexander Hamilton projected that revenues would be inadequate, leading to enactment of the Tariff of 1790 that imposed higher rates.
Colonists, however, did not elect members of Parliament, and so American Whigs argued that the colonies could not be taxed by that body. Colonial protests resulted in the repeal of the Stamp Act in 1765, but in the 1766 Declaratory Act, Parliament continued to insist that it had the right to legislate for the colonies "in all cases whatsoever".



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