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Boston Tea Party


The Boston Tea Party has remained one of the notable events in the Revolutionary War. It highlighted the strained relationship between the Britain and the thriteen colonies where Americans were angered by the injustices and the taxes that were introduced by the British government. It was an act of resistance where Americans resisted a number of intolerable legislations that had been eneacted. The paper discusses the Intolerable Acts that were introduced by the British government in the American Colonies and the reaction of the colonists. The Intolerable Acts include the Acts passed by the Parliament, such as the Townshend Act, the Tea Act, the Coercive Acts, as well as the Boston Massacre.

The History of Boston Tea Party

On December 1773, there was a tea crisis in Boston when members of the Sons Liberty boarded three cargo ships belonging to the British East India Company that were moored at the Griffins Wharf. All the members were disguised as Mohawk Indians; they were armed with an assortment of axes ready for the battle. They smashed approximately 340 chests of tea  and dumped them into the Boston harbor within a span of three hours (Siry, 2012).

Although this move was less agrressive, it triggered the American Revolution where Americans were ready to stage a war of independence. In expressing his concerns over the cost of the French and Indian Wars, King George III saw an avenue of taxing the American colonies as a sustainable move to recoupe the cost. Nevertheless, the Intolerable Acts was an excuse for gaining control of the increasing independent colonial governments. Actions such as the Stamp Act of 1765, the Townsend Act of 1767, and the Boston Massacre of 1770 agitated the colonists (Cogliano, 2010). However, the colonists were spurred to action by the attempts by the crown to tax. It resulted in the Boston Tea Party that laid the groundwork for the American Revolution. Colonists refused to pay the taxes levied against them claiming they had no such obligation by the parliament. Despite the parliament retracting taxes with the exception of the tea duty, they gave the East India Company the monopoly of tea importation to America. The parliament introduced a ploy to tax the colonists by reducing the duty on the imported tea, making the colonists to chose between the pleasure of having a cup of tea and paying the tax (Cogliano, 2010).

The Three Ships

The American colonists did not fall for the ploy. Instead, the arrival of the three tea ships in Boston ignited furious reactions from the colonists. More than 7000 locals milled about the wharf where the three ships docked in December 1773 (Siry, 2012). The three ships were the Beaver, Dartmouth, and Eleanor. The Beaver was the last to arrive to the Griffin’s Wharf in Boston because it was delayed after two-week quarantine because of the breaking out of an on board case of smallpox. The Dartmouth arrived earlier on November 2 while the Eleanor arrived on December 2. The Eleanor was commanded by Captain Bruce while the Beaver was commanded by Captain Coffin. In addition, the Dartmouth was commanded by Captain Hall. Each of the three ships carried hundreds of chests belonging to British East India Tea Company. The tea originated from China containing both the ‘Bohea ‘and the green tea. The tax on tea had to be paid after the arrival of the ships as part of the implementation of the Townshend Revenue Act (Cogliano, 2010). The deadline for tax payment was within twenty days of ships’ arrival failure to which the consignments would be seized by the authorities. The sins of liberty organized the Boston Tea Party for the destruction of the consignment after the arrival of the Dartmouth. They held a series of meetings for planning purposes in areas such as Green Dragon Tavern and Old South Meeting-house.

Rebellion of the Colonists

The Tea Act was the catalyst for the Boston Tea Party. It was passed by the parliament on the 10th of May, 1773, granting the British East India Company Tea monopoly on the sales in all the colonies of America (Siry, 2012). The move compelled the Sons of Liberty group to disguise themselves as Mohawk Indians on the night of the 16th of December, 1763 ready for the destruction of three ships that moored in the Boston harbor (Siry, 2012). The American colonists had passed through a series of injustices and unpopular policies imposed by the British government, thus the Tea Act served as the final straw for the rebellion. It ignited the anger of the colonists, thus serving as a catalyst for the Boston Tea Party that formed the basis for the American Rebellion. The taxes on tea existed since the passing of the Townshend Revenue Act, thus the Tea Act passed no new taxes. The Act was not meant to extend taxing to the Americans, but instead it had to help in bailing out the British East India Company from its debts that were incurred from the annual contractual payments (Cogliano, 2010).

Some of the provisions of the Tea Act include canceling the granting of the British East India Company Tea the exclusive rights for selling the tea at the London auction. The company was to pay taxes for each pound of tea sold before the Act was passed. The introduction of the Tea Act abolished the restrictions by granting the company a license for exportation of the tea to the colonies of America. The Act ensured that the duties charged on the tea that was shipped in the colonies of America would be refunded once it was sold. The Tea Act served as an act of American colonial defiance as they protested against taxation. It was a part of the wave of resistance throughout the American colonies (Cogliano, 2010).

The effects of the Tea Act were the revolution of the American colonists and the formation of the Boston Tea Party for the destruction of the tea. The Tea Act acted as a catalyst to fuel rebellion of the American colonists ('American tempest: how the Boston Tea Party sparked a revolution', 2011). Additionally, the larger impacts of the Act include the people getting more political processes responsive to the needs of the citizens. The major effects of the Tea Act were experienced after the destruction of the tea in the ships by the colonists who were dressed like Indians. More American colonists refused to drink the British tea.

The Boston Massacre

The Boston Massacre occurred on March 5, 1770. It was a key event for galvanizing the colonial public to the colonial cause (Reese, 2012). It occurred as a street fight between a patriot mob and a squad of British soldiers killing several colonists. The massacre prompted a campaign by speech writers with an aim of arousing the anger of the citizenry. The presence of the British soldiers in Boston angered the colonists, and the riot began after the troops attacked the sentinel and shot Americans were throwing snowballs and stones. The colonists called a town meeting where the main agendas were removal of removal of the colonizer and trial of Captain Preston responsible for the murder. The massacre was a signal for the Revolutionary War.

The Boston Massacre increased pressure from the British merchants who suffered from the colonial non-importation agreements, therefore, convincing the parliament to repeal the Townshend Act. The Tea Act remained in place, making the colonists angry and started a revolution in terms of the Boston Tea Party ('The Boston Tea Party: the foundations of revolution', 2013).

Taxation without Representation

The taxation of the colonists without representation was introduced by the passage of the Coercive Acts. The restraining acts were introduced in 1774 by the government of Lord North with George III’s encouragement (Reese, 2012). They were meant to restore order after the formation of the Boston Tea Party and other defiant acts by the American colonists. The series of Acts included the Boston Port Act that ensured the closing of the Boston port until the repayment of damages caused by the Boston Tea Party. The Massachusetts Government Act turned the governor’s council into an appointed body and restricted the democratic town meetings in Massachusetts. The administration of justice Act provided immunity to the British officials against criminal prosecution in Massachusetts. Additionally, the Quartering Act forced the colonists to quarter and house the British troops. There was the Quebec Act that extended the freedom of worship to the Catholics in Canada.

 The continental congress acted as the government of the thirteen American colonies from 1774 to 1789 and later ruled the United States. The first continental congress occurred in 1774 in the reaction to the introduced Coercive Acts where delegates from the thirteen colonies participated (Reese, 2012). The second continental congress was convened in 1775 just after the beginning of the American Revolutionary War (Reese, 2012). In 1776, the American independence was declared and five years later, there was the ratification of the constitution by the congress ('The Boston Tea Party: the foundations of revolution', 2013).

Helped Ignite the American Revolution

The American Revolution was ignited by several things, among them is the Tea Act that ignited the anger of the colonists. The introduction of the Coercive Acts also ignited the American Revolution. The closed Boston Harbor was one of the Coercive Acts introduced by the Britain in reaction to the Boston Tea Party. The Boston Harbor was closed until all damages were paid. The thirteen colonies were angered by the Boston Port Act and came together for Revolution in a manner that shocked the Parliament. All the Bostonians called for the unification of the thirteen colonies to meet the British threat. They all supported the reaction terming the Act as slavery ('The Boston Tea Party: the foundations of revolution', 2013). The Bostonians rallied people from other colonies to support their move and stop the importation and exportation with the Britain.


The American Revolution resulted from several Intolerable Acts passed by the Britain. The British government passed a series of laws such as the Tea Act, Stamp Act, the Townshend Act, and the Coercive Acts that resulted in increased suffering among the American colonists. The Boston Massacre was also an intolerable act. The Americans reacted to these intolerable Acts by forming a revolution that later became the American Revolutionary war to fight for their Independence. Some of the reactions included the Boston Tea Party.


American tempest: how the Boston Tea Party sparked a revolution. (2011). Choice Reviews Online, 49(04), 49-2290-49-2290. doi:10.5860/choice.49-2290

Cogliano, F. (2010). Revisiting the American Revolution. History Compass, 8(8), 951-963. doi:10.1111/j.1478-0542.2010.00705.x

Reese, T. (2012). The Boston Massacre: A History with Documents - By Neil L. York. Historian, 74(2), 380-381. doi:10.1111/j.1540-6563.2012.00322_38.x

Siry, S. (2012). Defiance of the Patriots: The Boston Tea Party and the Making of America - By Benjamin L. Carp. Historian, 74(1), 100-101. doi:10.1111/j.1540-6563.2011.00314_10.x

The Boston Tea Party: the foundations of revolution. (2013). Choice Reviews Online, 50(06), 50-3462-50-3462. doi:10.5860/choice.50-3462


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