Boston Tea Party and British Tyranny
In reference to the Boston Tea Party, the great Richard C. Simmons once stated, “[There emerged a] kind of unformed nationalism…growing up with more and more men in more and more colonies speaking and writing of an American cause that they largely defined in terms of protecting American liberties against British tyranny.” December 16, 1773, American patriots disguised themselves as Mohawk Indians and threw 342 chests of tea that belonged to the British East India Company from the ships into Boston Harbor. “The Americans were protesting both a tax on tea (the Townshend Acts) and the perceived monopoly of the East India Company (also the called English East India Company)” (Britannica 1). To the credit of the Americans, this act was a pivotal point in what eventually lead to the American Revolution and the freedom that the colonies gained through their rebellious efforts.
The Townshend Acts was a series of four separate acts that were passed by Parliament in their attempt to show the colonies the authority that they hold over their heads. These were proposed on the colonies to see what else Britain could squeeze money out of the colonies. Being a result of the Stamp Act, which the colonists despised more than anything, the British were able to tax other necessities being glass, tea, lead, paper, and more. This in general caused outrage by the colonists, but with the introduction of these Townshend Acts, the naturally-rebellious colonists were looking for any possible way to prove their independence. Britain felt that these taxes were fair on their behalf because they were majorly in debt due to paying for the costs of the colonists’ various battles. According to the colonists’ behalf, this was unjust for the simple fact that Britain was unjustly proposing these taxes upon them for personal revenue even though they had no say in the matter, regarding their representation within Parliament itself (History 1). The iconic line of “taxation without representation” was highly protested by many of the colonists. Due to the high disagreement with Britain, the colonists started smuggling in their tea to avoid being taxed so highly upon their main source of use in their home. The smuggling of tea came from the Tea Act of 1773 imposed by Britain to still have a credible source of income come their way. Just like the prohibition days many years later, tea was secretly smuggled. Iconic smugglers included John Hancock and Samuel Adams. With the help of these two prominent beings within the colonists and their views regarding Britain’s control over certain interests, the colonists were able to rally up and go against their former beliefs.
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One major, yet secret group organized in repealing the Stamp Act was known as The Sons of Liberty. This secret group which featured such names as Patrick Henry, Paul Revere, Benedict Arnold, John Hancock, and even Samuel Adams, was orchestral in not only continually battling the views of the Stamp Act, but was the pivotal point in orchestrating the Boston Tea Party, and even carrying the act out. Through their use of “mob rule”, the Sons of Liberty used intimidation, force, violence, and even fear to do what they can to undermine the British rule of the colonies, and gain independence from such people. The spearhead that eventually led to the American Revolution came on the night of December 16, 1773. A group of around sixty radical colonists led by Adams, had disguised themselves with headdresses and blankets to be seen as Native Americans and boarded the ships Beaver, Eleanor, and Dartmouth. The group went on to dump three hundred forty-two crates of tea into the harbor. An estimation of around $1.7 million dollars in today’s money, was thrown into the Boston Harbor. Not only was retaliation imminent from the British, but war was soon on the horizon in what eventually led to independence from Britain.
In inevitable retaliation to what the Sons of Liberty had done, Britain not only was ready for war, but they passed what was known in the colonies as the Intolerable Acts. King George III was not letting this act of the rebel colonists go unanswered. The Intolerable Acts, formerly known as the Coercive Acts was descripted as followed; The Boston Harbor was closed until all of the lost tea was accounted for and paid for. They ended the Massachusetts Constitution and even ended free elections of their town officials. Martial law was created as judicial authority was transferred to Britain and their judges. Demanded quartering of British troops by the colonists, even if that meant using their private homes and resources. Extended freedom of worship to French-Canadian Catholics under the British rule. And not only modified the charters of the colonies, but sent British troops under General Thomas Gage to completely occupy Boston (History 7). These acts were perceived as just by the British in order to flatten any further rebellion the colonists, or the Sons of Liberty were planning against the monarchy. But just like any other parent trying to tell the kids what to do, these acts were pushing each colonist further away from their rule, and edged them more towards bigger rebellion. It was a vital point in their rallying against the tyranny of Britain, and how the colonists had had enough of the rule by the monarchy. These acts were a point, along with the Tea Party, in which eventually led to the American Revolution to end the tyranny. All thirteen colonies had rallied to help Massachusetts in any way possible by sending aid, supplies, and plots to end the rule, and prove that their resistance was what would lead to independence from the British. The message was clear throughout them all. The British had gone too far in how they upheld rule throughout the colonies. Due to these actions, the First Continental Congress was convened in Philadelphia on September 5, 1774.
The First Continental Congress held on the 5th of September, of 1774 was where thirteen elected delegates from all of the colonies excluding Georgia had met in Philadelphia in Carter’s Hall. This meeting was mainly held on how to not only review the British actions imposed on the colonies, but how to handle them and the British all together. Though the delegates were equally divided on their own opinions on how to handle the situation, the Boston Tea Party is what had united them together and how they went about their actions. Through their meetings well into October, the delegates were able to advise the Declaration, and certain Resolves which included the following; censured Britain for passing the Coercive Acts and called for appeal, established a boycott of all British goods, declared the colonies had the right for independent govern, and rallied the colonists to form and even train a private colonial militia (History 9). The meeting of the delegates was vital for the succession of the colonies from Britain as a whole. Following the writings of these documents, and further meetings, the colonies were catapulted against the British in what is formerly known as the American Revolution. What was the catapult action that not only drove the colonists to war, but kept them in it? “The shot heard around the world.”
On the morning of April 19th, 1775, the beginning of the Revolution was sparked. With the termed “shot heard around the world”, the American war for independence was in full swing. The shot came from Lexington, Massachusetts where the colonial militia were forced to retreat due to being outnumbered by the British troops. Following the retreat, the British were able to march forward to Concord to search for their supplies when they came up empty handed. As the search for supplies was in swing, the colonial militia were reforming to meet the British in Concord at the North Bridge. The militia was successful in driving the troops back and driving them South towards Boston. The militia were able to gain reinforcements and even blockaded the narrow land accesses that allowed travel to Charlestown and Boston. These actions are what led to the ‘Siege of Boston’.
The American Revolution that eventually caused the Treaty of Paris to be formed which helped end the war on all fronts, was extremely pivotal for the simple fact that the colonies were able to win their complete and utter independence from Britain, and form their own society formerly known as the United States of America. The end of the war brought upon many various aspects in which we are known and dealing with on a day to day basis. The great George Washington became our nations very first President. With that, on September 17th, 1787, the Constitution was written and signed. This is what gives every American his/her right, and the government involvement in certain aspects of day to day life. After a long eight-year battle with the British, the colonies had their independence from the tyranny of the monarchy, and now had the rights to do what they do best. Rebel and be free.
Rebellion is sometimes, most times, seen as an act of violence and perceived to be extremely negative. In the case of the Boston Tea Party, this was just that. But this wasn’t just any rebellious attempt to gain something. This was for the freedom and independence that each colonist deserved to have after such a tyranny that the British were instating upon the colonies. The colonists responsible for the Tea party, the Sons of Liberty, were just in their efforts for fighting for what they believed in. The Townshend Acts were extremely unjust because they were being taxed without proper representation. And all of that tax money was going to pay off Britain’s own debts. The Boston Tea Party was extremely vital in fighting for independence that the colonies so desperately needed. From the Boston Tea Party to the American Revolution, the colonists did what they had to do to fight for their freedom. Independence was well sought for.