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The Causes and Consequences of the Boston Tea Party

By RebeccaBoles1 Jul 20, 2013 1083 Words
On December 16th 1773 in Boston, Massachusetts, Bostonians led by Samuel Adams disguised themselves as Indians, boarded 3 British ships and dumped their cargo of tea into the harbour. The causes that led up to this event included the Townshend Act, the Boston Massacre, Taxation without Representation and economy. This event in history heavily impacted the future of the American colonies. As a direct result the British were angry and brought forth the Intolerable Acts which led to the American Revolution and eventually the American colonies becoming the United States of America.

In January of 1767, the British government crafted a bill called the Townshend Act for their America colonies. At this time Britain had plunged into a depression and needed money to pay for the salaries of British Officials in America. Parliament cut taxes in Britain and raised them in colonial America. The Townshend Act declared that the American colonies would have to house, feed and pay the British soldiers sent to enforce royal law. Taxes were also added to everyday necessities and it was also forbidden for the colonists to manufacture any of these goods themselves. The Townshend Act meant a loss of freedom and a heavy burden on the citizens of the colonists. This act was repealed on March 5th 1770 after colonists rebelled and boycotted all goods from England. All taxes were ended except the tax on tea.

On the same day the Townshend Act was repealed tension between the British soldiers and the citizens of Boston reached boiling point. The Bostonians highly resented the forced toleration of the British soldiers in their city. A soldier on duty was surrounded by angry citizens. Captain Preston and seven other soldiers came to his aid and attempted to quiet the crowd. Unsuccessful things began to escalate and five citizens were shot and killed. The people of Boston felt empowered by their solidarity and also angered at the brutal actions of the royal army.

The colonials were constantly protesting that they were being subjected to ‘Taxation without Representation.’ This was on account of having to pay taxes without a representation in government. The colonials were beginning to tire of the fluctuating taxes and demands of the British who had left them in peace for so long. In 1773 Parliament wanted to aid the financially troubled British East India Company and so passed the Tea Act. The parliament decided to forgo the export/import duties which allowed the East India Company to sell their tea much cheaper than the local growers. Firstly, this put a lot of tea companies out of business and secondly, many people believed that this was a rouse to make them consent to paying taxes.

England regulated American trade keeping a firm grip on their economy. The Navigation Acts were passed in the 1650s which meant the colonies could only trade with England. If a colony wanted to trade with other countries the goods had to be shipped on British ships and merchants had to pay tax to the British. The trade regulations angered the American merchants as the Tea Act put many tea merchants out of business. The colonials thought that if the British monopoly could destroy tea merchants then it could probably destroy all merchants. It was after the Tea Act was passed that the Bostonians took the law into their own hands resulting in the Boston Tea Party.

A short term result of the Boston Tea Party was that the British were greatly angered that the American colonists did not show more respect for their mother country after all they had done for them. In order to punish the rebellious colonials especially Boston, parliament passed the Intolerable Acts. They also brought in more soldiers to regulate and control the rebellious outbursts. The increase in soldiers was also a sign to the colonies that Britain was still in control.

The Intolerable Acts were passed in 1774 as a direct result of the Boston Tea Party. There were five acts in total with four of them directly targeted to punish the colony of Massachusetts for the Boston Tea Party and to prevent further challenges to royal authority. The Boston Port Act ordered that the Boston port would be closed until payment was made for the destroyed tea. The Massachusetts Government Act increased the powers of the British and forbade town meetings without written approval. The Administration of Justice Act deprived the Massachusetts courts of jurisdiction over British officials. The last Act that resulted as a consequence to the Boston Tea Party was the Quartering Act which once again authorised that soldiers were to be housed in public buildings. The Intolerable Acts destroyed the Boston economy, but built up the American resistance and colonial unity.

In 1775 there was the battle of Concord and Lexington, the first battle of the Revolutionary War and also known as ‘The Shot Heard Round the World’. So began the eight year war of the American Revolution which finally ended in 1783 with the American people becoming the victors. With this conquest came the start of American independence from British rule and the creation of a new, proud and enthusiastic country ready to take control of their own providence. The colonials had finally beaten the Britain and gained their freedom.

Following on from the American Revolution, the newly formed country became the United States of America. It formed its own government, flag, created new laws and was able to trade freely with other countries. Following on from the success from the Revolution, America became more victorious and following on from their initial success has become one of the wealthiest and most influential countries in the world. It now controls the majority of the world’s economy and has had great influence on other countries throughout its history.

Without the Boston Tea Party to solidly put the colonists on the path to the Revolution, they may have not achieved freedom from England. The Boston Tea Party is a very significant event in American history and was the spark to the American Revolution. Of course there were important causes that led up to this event including the Townshend Act, the Boston Massacre, Taxation without Representation and economy. Consequences of this event included the fact that the British were angry at the Boston citizens and brought forth the Intolerable Acts in order to try to quell the rebellion. This, in turn, led to the American Revolution and eventually the American colonies becoming the United States of America.

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