On this date in 1773, an act of protest and defiance took place in Boston known today as the “Boston Tea Party”. The history behind the Boston Tea Party started with the passage of the Stamp Act of 1765 and the Townshend Act in 1767. This was done without representation for the colonists and they were pissed. Several colonists protested, the most well known being John Hancock who had one of his ships seized by custom officials and he was charged with smuggling. The charges were dropped, but Hancock faced other indictments later. Hancock organized a boycott of tea sold by the British East India Company that came from China and the sales fell drastically so the British government passed the Tea Act which let the East India Company sell to the colonies directly without “payment of any customs or duties whatsoever” in Britain. The company was able to sell tea much lower than American merchants. The merchants were very angered at the favored treatment of a major company who used lobbyists and had huge influence in Parliament. Protests took place in both Philadelphia and New York, but it was the protests in Boston that made their mark in history. The colonists felt that the Tea Tax was Britain’s attempt to take away more of their freedom. Sam Adams and wealthy smugglers and others who had profited from the smuggled tea called for agents that worked for the East India Company to give up their positions and were terrorized if they did not. Sam Adams organized meetings and on the night of December 16 the protest meeting was the largest yet seen with an estimated 8,000 people were said to have tipped the tea. on a ship named the Dartmouth. This act was said to have ingnited the sparks of The American Revolution.
Perhaps it is time for us to find a Boston Tea Party type of protest again as we watch our government act without representing the American people. Bailouts of banks and major companies, raising of taxes and more government control takes away our freedom. Even King George did not wield the kind of power that the US President now seems to enjoy. And with Barack Obama at the helm, I can only imagine where we are going.