Boston Tea Party

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Boston Tea Party,

1773. In the contest between British Parliament and the American colonists before the Revolution, Parliament, when repealing the Townshend ActsTownshend Acts,
1767, originated by Charles Townshend and passed by the English Parliament shortly after the repeal of the Stamp Act. They were designed to collect revenue from the colonists in America by putting customs duties on imports of glass, lead, paints, paper, and tea.
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, had retained the tea tax, partly as a symbol of its right to tax the colonies, partly to aid the financially embarrassed East India CompanyEast India Company, British,
1600–1874, company chartered by Queen Elizabeth I for trade with Asia. The original object of the group of merchants involved was to break the Dutch monopoly of the spice trade with the East Indies.
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. The colonists tried to prevent the consignees from accepting taxed tea and were successful in New York and Philadelphia. At Charleston the tea was landed but was held in government warehouses. At Boston, three tea ships arrived and remained unloaded but Gov. Thomas HutchinsonHutchinson, Thomas,
1711–80, colonial governor of Massachusetts (1771–74) and historian, b. Boston. A descendant of Anne Hutchinson, he was a man of wealth and prominence, of learning, and of notable integrity.
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 refused to let the ships leave without first paying the duties. A group of indignant colonists, led by Samuel AdamsAdams, Samuel,
1722–1803, political leader in the American Revolution, signer of the Declaration of Independence, b. Boston, Mass.; second cousin of John Adams. An unsuccessful businessman, he became interested in politics and was a member (1765–74) and clerk
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, Paul RevereRevere, Paul,
1735–1818, American silversmith and political leader in the American Revolution, b. Boston. In his father's smithy he learned to work gold and silver, and he became a leading silversmith of New England.
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, and others, disguised themselves as Native Americans, boarded the ships on the night of Dec. 16, 1773, and threw the tea into the harbor. In reply Parliament passed the Boston Port Bill (see Intolerable ActsIntolerable Acts,
name given by American patriots to five laws (including the Quebec Act) adopted by Parliament in 1774, which limited the political and geographical freedom of the colonists.
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See studies by B. W. Labaree (1964) and B. L. Carp (2010).

Boston Tea Party

irate colonists, dressed as Indians, pillage three British ships (1773). [Am. Hist.: Jameson, 58, 495]

Boston Tea Party

colonists rioted against tea tax (1773). [Am. Hist.: NCE, 341]
See: Riot