The Boston Tea Party
After the French & Indian War, the British felt the Americans should pay for some of its costs since the war did protect the colonists from the French Canadians & their Native American allies. In addition they felt the colonist should pay for stationing soldiers at forts across the new western frontier. To accomplish this the British imposed a series of taxes including the Stamp Act in 1765 which placed a tax on almost every public piece of paper. The colonists vehemently opposed the act organizing protests & intimitating tax collectors. British Parliament backed down & repealed the Stamp Act in 1766. In 1767 Parliament tried again & passed the Townshend Duties. These acts increased the cost of certain commodities such as lead, glass, paint, paper & tea. The colonists responded by boycotting those items & again Parliament relented & repealed the Townshend Duties in 1770 except for a three penny duty on tea kept to prove that Parliament had the right to tax the colonies without their consent & to save the British East India Tea Co. from bankruptcy. The BEI made its money selling tea from India to British whoesalers who then sold it to American wholesalers before being sold to the colonists. In an attempt to reduce costs, in 1773 Parliament passed the Tea Act which cut out the wholesalers & gave the BEI Tea Co. a monopoly on the sale of tea in the colonies. This hurt the colonists since it allowed the BEI to name its own sales agents eliminating the need for local merchants. In September 1773 BEI sent 600,000 lbs of tea to the colonies. When the cargos arrived they were met with hostile receptions. In New York & Philadelphia angry crowds forced officials to send the tea ships back to England. In Maryland demonstrators burned a tea ship & in New Jersey arsonists set fire to a warehouse that stored BEI tea. In Massachusetts, when patriots led by Samuel Adams refused to let the ships unload, Gov. Hutchinson decided to confront the demonstrators. British law required a ship to unload its cargo after 20 days in port so Hutchinson called on the Royal Navy to blockade Boston harbor so that the ships could not leave. After the 20 day period ended, Adams tried to convince Hutchinson to let the ships leave. He refused. So, at nine o'clock PM, December 16, 1773 about 70 Bostonians disguised as Native Americans, boarded the British ship Dartmouth & two other merchant vessels anchored at Griffin's Wharf & proceeded to dump the ships cargo of tea into the harbor. To the delight of a cheering crowd, the patriots destroyed 342 chests of tea worth between 10,000 & 18,000 pounds.