Free Essay on the Eighteenth-Century Politics of Consumption: The Boston Tea Party

Published: 2022-03-30
Free Essay on the Eighteenth-Century Politics of Consumption: The Boston Tea Party
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  American history
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1756 words
15 min read

A group of Massachusetts colonists in Boston Harbor covered as Mohawk Indians climbed three British tea ships and emptied several boxes of tea into the dock. Popularly referred to as the as the Boston Tea Party, the night invasion, was an objection of the British Parliament's Tea Act of 1773. The Act was meant to protect the East India Company's declining trade through considerable reduction its tea value and granting the corporation a virtual patent on the American tea trade. The second tax authorized the East India Company to be underpriced regular the Dutch traders' tea smuggled into America, and several settlers perceived the law as an example of tyranny taxation. Following several years of colonial boycotts toward the tea Products, the Liberty Sons inspired the independence fire in 1773 by dumping tea into the Boston harbor. Parliament, offended by the apparent destruction of British goods, passed the Coercive Acts (Intolerable Acts of 1774). The Coercive Acts terminated Boston to exporter shipping; installed a general British army unit in Massachusetts, selected British administrators advocated against any form of criminal execution in the U.S, and demanded settlers to house British troops. The settlers consequently pronounced the opening Continental Congress to acknowledge a united American opposition to the British. Rejecting tea as a consumer product and representative of biased taxation was rejecting Great Britain's involvement in the American government and economy. However, tea presented a more extended and far more intricate role in American financial records than the experiences at Boston suggest. This paper examines tea as a primary component of global trade and investigates its associations with the eighteenth-century politics of consumption. Showing that tea created struggle over the progression of the eighteenth century in some various ways, this paper outlines the multifaceted influence of the British colonial politics, imperial policy, and the economic structure of trader companies.

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The 1773 Tea Act was one of the numerous rules imposed on the American settlers by the massively indebted British administration in the decade proceeding up to the American Revolutionary War of 1775-83 (Benjamin 11). The act's primary objective was not to build resources from the territories but to restore the struggling East India Company, a chief player in the British market. The British administration gave the company a monopoly on the sale and importation of tea into the territories. The settlers had never held the vitality of the tax on tea, and the Tea Act re-aroused their resistance to it. Their opposition finished on December 16, 1773, during the Boston Tea Party where colonials mounted East India Company vessels and emptied their freight of tea into the water. The British Parliament countered with a string of strict rules meant to choke colonial opposition to the British government.

Changes in Britain

The British Empire had just emerged as the winner of the Seven Years War (1756-63). But while the victory considerably increased the empire's royal holdings, it also left Britain with a massive national deficit. As such, the British council viewed its North American territories as an untouched spring of revenue. The Stamp Act was the first internal, direct tax that the British Parliament passed to levy the American settlers (Benjamin 11). The settlers opposed the new tax, claiming that only their elected colonial governments could tax them and that unrepresented taxation was unconstitutional and unjust. Following the British government's denial of their contentions, the settlers resorted to mob violence and physical intimidation to stop the stamp tax collection. Realizing that the Stamp Act was a lost cause, Parliament revoked it in 1766. However, Parliament did not renounce its power to charge the colonists or establish law over them. Charles Townshend the new British Exchequer chancellor (officer in charge of managing the government's resources) introduced the Townshend Revenue Act. This law imposed duties on some goods shipped into the colonies, including paint, tea, paper, and glass. The revenue appropriated by these taxes would be employed in funding the royal colonial governors' salaries.

Because Parliament had a long past of exercising taxes to manage imperial trade, Townshend assumed that the settlers would consent to the demand of the new charges. Wrongly for Townshend, the Stamp Act stirred colonial outrage to all current taxes, whether imposed on imports or directly on the settlers. Furthermore, Townshend's plan to use the proceeds to pay the imperial governors' salaries aroused high doubt among the settlers. In most territories, the constituent assemblies paid the governors' salaries and dropping that power of the wallet would considerably intensify the power of the magnanimously elected governors at the cost of the democratic government. The settlers formed useful and popular shun of the taxed products to prove their resentment. Once again, the colonial uprising had threatened the new system of taxation, and yet again, the British government dropped to reality without breaking the system that it had legal jurisdiction to tax the colonists (Merritt17). Parliament abolished all of the Townshend Act taxes, saving for the one on tea, which was preserved as a figure of Parliament's authority over the colonists.

Protecting the East India Company

The withdrawal of the preponderance of the Townshend Act lessened the colonial boycott resolutions. Although several colonists continued to refuse to take tea out of faith, many others remained to make of the beverage, though some of them salved their shame by drinking illegal-smuggled Dutch tea, which was reasonable than legally shipped tea. The American use of smuggled tea destroyed the economics of the East India Company, which was now fighting through financial difficulty. Although it was a single concern, the business played an essential role in Britain's supreme prosperity and worked as its channel to the fortunes in the East Indies. An oversupply of tea and a declined American business had left the group with tons of rotting tea leaves in its depots. To save the troubled company, the British Parliament enacted the 1773 Tea Act. The law gave the company the freedom to export its tea straight to the colonies without initial landing it in England and to contract representatives who would have the single license to trade tea in the territories (Merritt17). The act preserved the tax on shipped tea at its current rate, though, considering that the company was no longer expected to give an extra fee in England, the Tea Act completely dropped the cost of the East India Company's tea in the territories.

Destruction of the tea

If Parliament assumed that the decreased price of tea would calm the colonists into complying with the Tea Act, it was gravely misinformed. By supporting the East India Company to trade tea straight into the American settlements, the Tea Act cast out colonial traders, and the influential and prominent colonial merchants responded with violence. Merritt (17) says that other settlers perceived the act as a trick meant to entice them into admitting Parliament's power to command taxes on them. The fact that the ministers selected by the company to market its tea included some pro-Parliament folks only worsened the situation. The Tea Act encouraged the resistance on tea and caused direct opposition not witnessed after the Stamp Act disaster. The act also established partners of traders and nationalist societies like the Liberty Sons. Patriot riots threatened the company's representatives into quitting their duties. In some towns, groups of colonists assembled along the harbors and drove company ships away without offloading their cargo.

The Boston Tea Party

With the enactment of the Tea Act, the seventeen million pounds of surplus untraded tea the British East India Company held could be auctioned to markets in the American territories. The intent was to dispatch the tea to the American colonies and sell at a discounted price (Palmer 17). Offended that American traders were undermined, colonists initially in New York and Philadelphia rejected the British East India Company ships to offload and granted the vessels back to England. In several colonial harbors to complain the Tea Act, the cargo of British East India Company tea was emptied and forsaken on the piers to decay. The Dartmouth, Eleanor, and Beaver, landed in Boston in late November and December 1773. The settlers, led by the Liberty Sons, fancied the ships to turn to England and rejected unloading of the ships' freight of tea. Thomas Hutchinson, the Chief Justice Lieutenant and Governor of Massachusetts, declined to allow the vessels to turn back to England and kept the Dartmouth, Eleanor, and Beaver in the Boston Harbor till concerns could be fixed and the tea offloaded. On December 16, 1773, the core of the Boston Tea Party was set, and then the Sons of Liberty emptied several containers of British East India Company Tea into Boston Harbor. When three tea ships, the Beaver, Eleanor and the Dartmouth hit in Boston Harbor, the settlers directed that the ships full of tea be returned to England. After Massachusetts Governor Thomas Hutchinson rejection, Samuel Adams, a Patriot leader made the "tea party" together with another underground resistance group- the Sons of Liberty. The British tea unloaded in Boston Harbor was estimated at some $18,000.

American independence and the coercive acts

The Boston Tea Party led to significant property destruction and infuriated the British government. Parliament replied with the Coercive Acts of 1774, which settlers began to refer to as the Intolerable Acts (Palmer 17). The set of rules, among other things, abolished the imperial charter of Massachusetts and shut the harbor of Boston till the settlers repaid the price of the damaged tea. In 1719, the Parliament also selected General Thomas Gage as the officer in charge of British forces in North America, and as the director of Massachusetts. Following the 1765 Stamp Act crisis, rebellious colonists had suggested that new British charges declared an endeavor to overcome democratic government in the territories and to suppress the settlers to British tyranny. The Coercive Acts proved more reasonable to Americans that the rebels' claims had merit. Colonial opposition increased, a couple of years after Parliament enacted the Tea Act, and the colonists claimed their liberation as the United States of America.

Works Cited

Benjamin L. Carp, Defiance of the Patriots: The Boston Tea Party and the Making of America (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2010, $19.00). Pp. xv+311. ISBN 978 0 3001 1705 9." Journal of American Studies, vol. 45, no. 02, 2011.

Merritt, Jane T. The Trouble with Tea: The Politics of Consumption in the Eighteenth-Century

Global Economy. Hopkins University Press, 2017.Retrieved from:

Palmer, R. R. "The American Revolution: The People as Constituent Power." Princeton University Press, 2017.

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