The Boston Tea Party, occurred in the winter of 1773, was a significant American political protest against the British government in Boston, Massachusetts. Around 342 chests of tea were thrown into the sea by American colonists who were dissatisfied with the unjust British taxation policy. The impact of the protests was enormous. It ruthlessly jolted the British Empire and helped lead to the 1776 American War of Independence, where America established its independence from colonial rule.
What led to the Boston Tea Party?
Over the prior few years, a number of unjust taxation policies had been imposed on the American colonies. The Tea Act was the last straw which flared the anger of the American colonists against British rule. In 1767, the Townshend Revenue Act was passed. The act-imposed tax on a number of products that were imported in Britain, but due to defiance by the American colonists the act was repealed. Nevertheless, the duty on tea was continued as an assertion by the British “The right of taxing the Americans.”
The British East India Company was in a severe financial crisis and stringent steps were urgently needed to salvage the company. Thus, in 1773, the Tea Act was passed. As per the act, the tea could be shipped directly to the colonies without first arriving in England. Though the duty of the imported tea was retained, the company was under no obligation to pay an additional tax in England. This step gave an edge to the East India Company as the price of the company’s tea in the colonies was significantly lowered. Though the act was a bailout plan for the East India Company, it had a disastrous effect. It not only economically impacted the colonial merchants but also made them believe that the British Parliament was violating their rights. Their complaint was that the Colonists were taxed by the British parliament where they had no representation, instead of being taxed by their own elected representatives.
In a span of nearly three hours, approximately 45 tons of tea was dumped into the water, thereby showing the American dissatisfaction with the British policies. Three years later in 1776, the American Revolution broke out. The 13 colonies gained independence from British rule and came to be called the United States of America.