On December 16, 1773, groups of colonists disguised as Indians boarded three ships (the Dartmouth, the Eleanor, and the Beaver) docked in the Boston Harbor and promptly destroyed all the tea on board. This became known as the Boston Tea Party, one of the most important moments in American History, and it was done to protest the British Government’s expanding monopoly and control over the tea brought into the colonies. The colonists saw it as a violation of their right to be taxed only by their elected representatives, and they began to question the extent of the British Parliament’s authority over them as a result.
In its aftermath, reaction was as divisive as it was passionate. Samuel Adams made sure everyone knew about it and defended it for what it was. He refused to see it as the act of a “lawless mob” but as a principled protest by colonists defending their constitutional rights. Adams also said that this was their only remaining option as everything else they had tried previously failed.
The British Government was “appalled” at this act and refused to let it go unpunished. In response they passed the “Coercive Acts” which closed the port of Boston, brought the government of Massachusetts under British control, and required the colonies to house British soldiers in America. Parliament hoped it would reverse the resistance to its authority, but it soon proved to be a major political backfire.
The colonists felt the Coercive Acts completely violated their constitutional rights and saw it as an unnecessary and cruel punishment. They only served to further provoke their hatred of the British and increased their opposition to Britain’s hold over them. Even political moderates in the colonies had problems speaking up for Parliament because of this.
What these Acts did instead was create sympathy for the colonies, and this lead to them forming the First Continental Congress. This convention of delegates began boycotting British goods, and imports ended up suffering a huge drop in sales.
The Second Continental Congress came together after the start of the American Revolutionary War, and their efforts led to the creation of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. This document brought about the birth of the United States of America.
Looking back, all these events serve to illustrate the powerful effect the Boston Tea Party had over everyone at the time. It caused a chain reaction which forced the colonies to come together as one, and sought the independence they deserved. Had this not happened, America may not have become what it is today. It is a vital part of the country’s history which needs to be revisited as many of its citizens still look to its powerful opposition against government control as something still worth fighting for today.