Defiance of the Patriots by Benjamin L. Carp
On the evening of December 16, 1773, a group of disguised Bostonians boarded three merchant ships and dumped more than forty-six tons of tea into Boston Harbor. The Boston Tea Party, as it later came to be known, was an audacious and revolutionary act. It set the stage for war and cemented certain values in the American psyche that many still cherish today. But why did the Tea Party happen? Whom did it involve? What did it mean? The answers to these questions are far from straightforward.
In this thrilling new book, Benjamin L. Carp tells the full story of the Tea Party—exploding myths, exploring the unique city life of Boston, and setting this extraordinary event in a global context for the first time. Bringing vividly to life the diverse array of people and places that the Tea Party brought together—from Chinese tea-pickers to English businessmen, Native American tribes, sugar plantation slaves, and Boston’s ladies of leisure—Carp illuminates how a determined group shook the foundations of a mighty empire, and what this has meant for Americans since. As he reveals many little-known historical facts and considers the Tea Party’s uncertain legacy, he presents a compelling and expansive history of an iconic event in America’s tempestuous past.
Boston Tea Party
The event was the first major act of defiance to British rule over the colonists. In the s, Britain was deep in debt, so British Parliament imposed a series of taxes on American colonists to help pay those debts. The Stamp Act of taxed colonists on virtually every piece of printed paper they used, from playing cards and business licenses to newspapers and legal documents. The Townshend Acts of went a step further, taxing essentials such as paint, paper, glass, lead and tea. The colonists, however, disagreed. They were furious at being taxed without having any representation in Parliament, and felt it was wrong for Britain to impose taxes on them to gain revenue. On March 5, , a street brawl happened in Boston between American colonists and British soldiers.
Educators, challenge your students to learn vital Web research skills and study an event in history with the On This Day Challenge. Participating classes will be eligible for prizes and could be featured on findingDulcinea. Quick Search. Today's Happy Birthday. More On This Day. Library of Congress Destruction of tea at Boston Harbor. On Dec.
Thirteen Colonies. Great Britain. American Patriots strongly opposed the taxes in the Townshend Act as a violation of their rights. Demonstrators, some disguised as Native Americans , destroyed an entire shipment of tea sent by the East India Company. They boarded the ships and threw the chests of tea into the Boston Harbor.
The Americans were protesting both a tax on tea taxation without representation and the perceived monopoly of the East India Company. The Townshend Acts passed by Parliament in and imposing duties on various products imported into the British colonies had raised such a storm of colonial protest and noncompliance that they were repealed in , saving the duty on tea, which was retained by Parliament to demonstrate its presumed right to raise such colonial revenue without colonial approval.
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View All Announcements. Beaver Were the ships British? A popular misconception is the belief the Tea Party Ships were British. In fact, the vessels were built in America and owned by Americans, but the cargo of tea they were carrying from London to Boston was owned by the British East India Company. The Eleanor was one of several vessels owned by leading Boston merchant, John Rowe. Learn More Where did the tea come from? In addition to India, the British East India Company had extensive dealings in China because of the lucrative opium trade.
Patriots Agitate: The Boston "Tea Party" During a three-year interval of calm, a relatively small number of "patriots" or "radicals" strove energetically to keep the controversy alive. As long as the tea tax remained, they contended, the principle of Parliament's right over the colonies remained. And at any time in the future, the principle might be applied in full with devastating effect on colonial liberties. Typical of the patriots was their most effective leader, Samuel Adams of Massachusetts, who toiled tirelessly for a single end: independence. From the time he graduated from Harvard College, Adams was a public servant in some capacity-inspector of chimneys, tax-collector, moderator of town meetings. A consistent failure in business, he was shrewd and able in politics, with the New England town meeting the theater of his action. Adam's tools were men: his goal was to win the confidence and support of ordinary people, to free them from awe of their social and political superiors, make them aware of their own importance, and arouse them to action.
Patriot leaders cited the Indian disguises worn by some in the boarding parties in order to deny responsibility for the affair and claim it was the work of outsiders. By mid, after Britain closed the port as punishment and a British army once again occupied the town, it was hardly politic to claim credit for it. Nor, as rebellion turned to revolution, did it fit the pose patriots assumed as the victims of British aggression. But Tea Party advocates seem indifferent to the original event. When Glenn Beck devoted an episode of his since-cancelled Fox News show to celebrating Samuel Adams, one of the Boston Tea Party organizers, he was mainly concerned with depicting Adams as a neglected Christian patriot. And when Sarah Palin spoke on the Boston Common in , she had nothing at all to say about either the deliberations in Old South Meeting House that set the stage for the event or about the action itself at the waterfront. It was an act of defiance, but defiance of whom, by whom, and to what end?