The Boston Tea Party remains one of the few events leading up to the American Revolutionary War which so truly defines, for the average American citizen, the nature of the colonies' severance from England. Aside from the war itself, the Tea Party, in many respects, embodies the resistance movement.
In 1773 Parliament passed the Tea Act, reasserting the most controversial aspect of the Townshend Duties. In addition, Parliament extended monopoly control to the British East India Company. Previously the Company was required to go through London, paying a duty there. But the Tea Act allowed the ships to go directly to the colonies, ruining local businesses that had taken advantage of the higher, taxed prices of the East India Company tea. Members of Parliament, not their own representatives, were taxing them for purposes of revenue. It was precisely this pattern that led to the Boston Tea Party on December 16, 1773.
Over 100 men charged the Dartmouth, dumping about 90,000 pounds of tea into the sea. This historical protest was carried out peacefully, but it played a great part in leading to the Revolutionary War just a few years later.
The British initially responded with the Coercive Acts in 1774, but these only injured the British objective, for now the colonists' worst fears had been actualized. This led to the formation of the First Continental Congress, which was quickly followed by the colonies' declaration of freedom from the Crown.
Today, besides of course remaining one of the greatest events leading to American independence, the Tea Party is symbolically used as a means of protest against modern-day taxation and the rise in government spending and control.
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