Mr. Chapin's US History Wiki

The Boston Tea Party was a political protest committed by a group of Massachusetts’s patriots known as the Sons of Liberty. On the night of December 16, 1773 this group of men disguised themselves as Indians and snuck aboard three tea ships that were docked in the Boston Harbor. Once aboard the ships the men dumped and destroyed every one of the 342 boxes of tea sent by the East India Company (Foner, Eric, and John A. Garraty; Par:1)

These actions were a response in defiance to Britain's new Tea Act, which set forth more rules and restrictions in regards to the colonies ability to trade and carry tea. The British attempt to raise revenue by taxing tea and other things spurred the events of the Boston tea party which sparked the American Revolution and set the framework for gaining America's independence.

Colonial Context[]

Someone deleted this, it wasn't me though.

British Context:[]

Britain had just finished helping the colonies in the French and Indian War. In this war, the British had spent a large sum of money in military spending, which put the whole country in a financial struggle. (The Boston Tea Party, 1773; Par: 1).  The average citizen in Britain was paying much more tax than the average colonist in the America was paying. In order to try to bring themselves out of the hole Britain was in and equalize taxes with the colonists, British parliament passed a series of acts that would increase tensions with the Colonies in the New World (Cooper, W. D; Par: 1). 

Colonist protesting against the townshend act

British Soldiers Fire Upon Protesting Boston Colonists

The first of these acts was set forth in 1765 and called the Stamp Act. It placed income stamps on all paper such as newspapers, legal documents, letters, pamphlets, and even playing cards. It was Britain’s first internal tax with the sole purpose of raising revenue for the country and it didn’t sit well with the colonists. (The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation’s Official History and Citizenship Website; Par: 1)

Two years later, another act, called the Townshend Acts was imposed without the consent of the Colonies. This placed a large revenue tax on widely used items like glass, lead, paint, and tea and also paid for the British governmental officials’ salaries (Harcourt, Houghton M; Par: 1). When people refused to pay it, Britain sent 4,000 redcoats to occupy Boston and suspended the New York Assembly. This infuriated people in the New World, because it took away the minute voice that they had in politics. As a result, angry mobs took to the streets in Boston. In the confusion of the protests, the orders to “open fire” were given, and the British troops fired their weapons at the angry crowd killing five of them. (Unknown Colonist; Primary Document Mr. Chapin Gave Us). This would later be called the Boston Massacre.

Tea Act of 1773:

The Tea Act of 1773 lit the fuse to the events of the Boston Tea Party. After the Boston Massacre, British parliament retracted all the Townshend Acts except for the one on tea. This produced a momentary

The Tea Act of 1773

tranquility in the colonies until parliament came up with a clever plan in 1773. They gave the bankrupting East India Company a monopoly on the importation of tea to America

 (The Boston Tea Party, 1773; Par: 2). However the Tea Act wasn’t that bad, it enabled the company to sell tea for a lot less money to the colonists, actually decreased the duty that colonists would have to pay for tea (The Boston Tea Party; Par:2).The problem was if colonists continued to buy tea, they would basically be accepting Britain’s right to tax them against their will.

Response to Tea Act:[]

In 1773 the arrival of three British tea ships infuriated Boston Locals. A meeting was attended by 7,000 Bostonians and they resolved that the tea ships should leave the harbor with out any duty. In the same meeting, a committee was made, which would take this demand to the customs house in order to force the ships to leave. However the Collector of customs refused to allow it unless duty was paid. After getting news of this a group of  

200 men started to march towards the harbor while screaming and chanting war calls. (The Boston Tea Party, 1773; Par: 4)

The Angry Boston Colonists Take Action

Rebellion and defiance were in the air, and once in the harbor the men were divided into three parties and boarded each ship simultaneously (Hewes, George; Par: 5). They then proceeded to open every hatch, grab each crate of tea, and dump a total of 342 boxes of tea into the water (Boston Tea Party PBS; Par: 3).

The next day boxes of tea were floating in the water of the Boston Harbor. To make sure none of the tea could be saved, little boats were sent out to destroy them. George Hewse, a member of the tea party describes the extent that colonists were willing to go through to show their defiance in his account of the night of the Boston Tea Party. In his journal, he wrote, “A number if small boats, manned by sailors and citizens, who rowed them into those parts of the harbor wherever the tea was visible, and by beating it with oars and paddles so thoroughly drenched it as to render its entire destruction inevitable.” (Hewes, George; Par: 12).

Colonial Reaction:[]

Most Colonists applauded the actions of the Boston Tea Party. So much so, that the popular phrase “Keep up your courage” came into existence in order to continue colonial defiance. When the news reached New York and Philadelphia, both cities celebrated over the apparent victory. Boston was praised for its steadfast optisition to the tyrannical British policies (The Boston Tea Party; Par: 8). Although it is not know whether Samuel Adams planned the Boston Tea Party, it is known that he was a huge supporter of it. He publicized and defended it with passion. Samuel Adams argued that the Tea Party wasn’t just a drunk mob, but a critical protest that was the only chance left in maintaining the country’s constitutional rights. (Did Sam Adams Orchestrate the Boston Tea Party; Par:1)

British Reaction:[]

However, Britain was not as big a fan as the colonies were. Britain was furious; the Britsh acted quickly and did not put much thought into their next step. Prime Minister Lord North even said, “Whatever may be the consequence, we must risk something; if we do not, all is over.” (Draper, Theodore; Ch: 17) Britain could not let this go unpunished, it needed to act fast to show the colonies who was still in power. So It passed the Coercive Acts, which were also known as the Intolerable Acts of 1774 (The Intolerable Acts; Par: 1-2). These acts closed Boston's ports, which decreased the colonies income; they put new British government officials in coloniess and set forth a new harsher quartering act. The Intolerable Acts also appointed new Massachusetts officials, no longer permitted the town to have meetings, and set forth the Quebec Act (The Intolerable Acts; Par: 7). The Coercive Acts took away any independence the colonies had left. 

Works Cited: []

(Data Base) "The Boston Tea Party, 1773." The Boston Tea Party, 1773. (No Author Given).Eye Witness to History, n.d. Web. 31 Oct. 2013. <>.

suck ass

(Data Base)"The Boston Tea Party." Coming of the American Revolution: Boston Tea Party. (No Author Given) Massachusetts Historical Society, n.d. Web. 31 Oct. 2013. <>.


(Primary Resource)  Colonist, Unnamed. "Account of the Boston Incident." Letter. 12 Mar. 1770. MS. "Student Handout 3C", Boston, Massachusetts.

(Primary Resource) Hewes, George. "Boston Tea Party." The History Place - American Revolution: Boston Tea Party - Eyewitness Account. The History Place, n.d. Web. 05 Dec. 2013.

(Website) Foner, Eric, and John A. Garraty. "Boston Tea Party." A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web. 03 Dec. 2013.

 (Website) "Boston Tea Party PBS." PBS. (No Author Given) PBS, n.d. Web. 31 Oct. 2013. <>.

(Book) Draper, TheodoreA Struggle for Power: The American Revolution. New York: Times, 1996. Print.

(Book) Cooper, W. D. Making the Revolution: America. N.p.: n.p., n.d. National Humanities Center Resource Toolbox. Web.

 (Website) Harcourt, Houghton M. "Townshend Acts." A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web. 06 Dec. 2013.

(Website) Kindig, Thomas. "The Tea Act." The Tea Act. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Dec. 2013.

(Website) "The Intolerable Acts." The Intolerable Acts []. (No Author Given)N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Dec. 2013.

(Website) “ The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation’s Official History and Citizenship Website.A Summary of the 1765 Stamp Act. (No Author Given). N.p.,n.d. Web. 03 Dec. 2013.

(Website) "Did Sam Adams Orchestrate the Boston Tea Party?" Boston Tea Party Historical Society. Ed. (No Author Given). N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Dec. 2013.

Cited Photos (In order of Appearence):