Boston Tea Party
In 1766, the British Parliament passed a law called the Townshend Act which placed taxes on certain goods coming to the colonies in America from Britain. Along with paper, paint, glass, lead, and other items, tea was taxed. The taxes raised the prices of these items, which made many colonists angry. Some of them organized a boycott of British goods. One of the hardest to give up was tea, since it was a part of the home culture of English-Americans. Smugglers brought coffee from the West Indies, so people were able to drink something hot while keeping up the boycott of British goods. Later on, the British government repealed the Townshend Act, but kept the tax on tea. By 1773, the boycott of British tea was hurting Britain's economy and British tea merchants. In that year, the prime minister of England, Lord Frederick North, started a policy that made the price of British tea go down. Thus, even with the tax, British tea became less expensive than the smuggled coffee the colonists were buying. This made many Americans angry. They did not want to pay a tax unless they had some say in the government that created the tax. The British government was trying to force the tea boycott to stop without trying to solve the problems that led the colonists to begin the boycott in the first place. Some colonists were so angry that they decided to do something that would show the British Parliament that they were serious about what they said. A number of them dressed up as Native Americans from the Mohawk tribe, darkening their European faces with soot, and went down to the dock of the Boston Harbor. We do not know exactly who the men were, or what most of their names were. This incident, called the Boston Tea Party took place on the night of December 16, 1773. The party lasted about three hours. In all, 342 chests of tea, which would be worth about $17,000 today, were thrown into Boston Harbor. After the party ended, leaders of the protesters cleaned up the mess on the decks, and anyone caught trying to steal the tea that was to be thrown overboard was punished..