Q3. What was the “Boston Tea Party” and why was it significant?
The thirteen British colonies in America strongly resented the economic and political exploitation by the British. The leaders in the Massachusetts colony called together representatives from other colonies to consider their common problems. In this Massachusetts assembly, they agreed and declared that the English Parliament had no right to levy taxes on them. ‘No taxation without representation’ was the slogan they adopted and threatened to stop the import of British goods.
Parliament eventually conceded and repealed the Stamp Act in 1766, however, Parliament also passed the Declaratory Act to reserve Britain’s right to govern and “bind” the colonies whenever and however it deemed necessary.
Then Parliament imposed a tax on consumer goods coming into the colonies, such as paper, glass, tea and paint. In protest the colonies cut down the English imports by one-half. The English withdrew the plan- leaving only the tax on tea to assert their right to levy taxes.
The tax on tea led to trouble. In 1773, several colonies refused to unload the tea coming in English ships. In Boston, when the governor ordered a ship to be unloaded, a group of citizens, dressed as American Indians, boarded the ship and dumped the crates of tea into the water.
This incident is known as ‘the Boston Tea Party’. The English government closed the port of Boston to all trade which precipitated the uprising of the colonies.
Significance of Boston Tea Party:
The tea shipments were sent to help out the struggling East India Company, by allowing them to sell the tea cheaply and so to secure a monopoly in the colonies. Colonial merchants were afraid England would follow by forcing monopolies on all sorts of things, driving them out of business.
But more critical was the decision to require the payment of the duty on tea. The tea would still be the cheapest, but by paying the duty the colonies would be acknowledging Parliament’s authority to require such taxes. So, in the biggest, most successful boycott since the Stamp Act, the colonies united in refusing the tea-and-duty.
But the Tea Party was more important for its result as it propelled the two toward war