How Tea changed history: The Boston Tea Party
May 20, 2010 by rubyjane89
At the beginning of 1773 the British East India Company was controlling tea trading between India and all the British colonies, even those in America; this passage guaranteed a high margin of gain for British merchants but it also meant a higher price for the American colonists. As a consequence, the colonist started importing tea from Holland; this was seen with concern by the British parliament, beacause all the British warehouses were full of tea that was left unsold, which would have certainly lead the British East India Company to bankruptcy. That was something that the British government could not just let happening.
The North ministry’s solution was the Tea Act, which received the assent of King George on May 10, 1773. This act permitted the company, for the first time, to export tea to the colonies on its own account. This would allow the company to reduce costs by eliminating the middlemen who bought the tea at wholesale auctions in London. Instead of selling to middlemen, the company now appointed colonial merchants to receive the tea on consignment; the “consignees” would in turn sell the tea for a commission. In July 1773, tea consignees were selected in New York, Philadelphia, Boston, and Charleston. Cutting this costs of the company allowed it to sell its tea cheaper than the colonial merchants who were selling smuggled tea from Holland, without even eliminating the taxes for the American colonists.
On the evening of December 16, 1773, in Boston, a group of men calling themselves the “Sons of Liberty” went to the harbor, dressed as Mohawk Indians. They boarded three British ships that were supposed to unload the tea of the British East India Company, the Beaver, the Eleanor and the Dartmouth, and dumped all the forty-five tons of tea into the Boston Harbor.
The struggles of the “Sons of Liberty” lead to victory. In February, 1775, Britain passed the “Conciliation Resolution”, which ended taxation for any colony that satisfactorily provided for the imperial defense and the upkeep of imperial officers. The Tea Act was replaced by the Taxation of Colonies Act, in 1778.
At the very least, the Boston Tea Party and the reaction that followed served to rally support for revolutionaries in the thirteen who were eventually successful in their fight for indipendence.