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Tea Act contribution to the Revolutionary War

Consequences of the Tea Act

Despite the economic benefit to end consumers of tea, the Tea Act damaged the position of independent shippers, smugglers and local shopkeepers. John Hancock was a well known tea smuggler whose tea inventory was seized by custom officials. Powerful business interest and the Sons of Liberty convinced the population to view the act as another means of “taxation without representation” as they did not have the freedom to buy tea from other merchants at the same price as from selected official merchants.

Colonists showed their opposition to the Tea Act through the Boston Tea Party and other uprisings throughout the colonies. As a result British parliament passed the Intolerable Acts or Coercive Acts, a package of five laws, meant to restore order in the colonies. One of the new laws was the The Boston Port Act which closed the port of Boston until the East India Company was repaid for the lost of its tea cargo. The Massachusetts Government Act restricted the authority of colonial assemblies and banned committees of correspondence. The Administration of Justice Act limited the ability for colonial courts to try British officials. The Quartering Act mandated colonies to house British soldiers. The Quebec Act favored the catholic French majority to boost their loyalty in the face of growing resistance in the New England colonies.

Illustration of the Boston Tea Party, Boston residents dressed as Native Americans.

Contribution of the Tea Act to the Revolutionary War

The reaction to the Tea Act that led to the Boston Tea Party (see Tea Act crisis) united all parties in Britain against American extremists. British parliament was united in passing the Intolerable Acts also known as Coercive Acts as a retribution for the uprising and violence of the Boston Tea Party. The Boston Tea Party is perhaps the most famous event preceding the American Revolution.

On the colonist side, opposition to the Coercive Acts united them even more. In response to them Committees of Correspondence were created and established in twelve colonies and their delegates sent to the First Continental Congress. Their first meeting was on September 5, 1774 and their first measure was to issue a Declaration of Rights and Grievances agreeing to boycott British goods. The British declared Massachusetts to be in a state of rebellion, their leaders to be arrested and all military arsenal to be destroyed.

On April 19, 1775 General Gage ordered seven hundred men to capture all military arsenal in Concord. That night Paul Revere rode from Boston to Lexington to warn patriots about the arrival of British troops. Colonists assembled at Lexington Green and shoots broke out while more militia gathered at Concord Bridge. The battles of Lexington and Concord became know as the first battles fought for American independence.

[1] Rabushka, Taxation in Colonial America, 758.


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Tea Act Definition

Tea Act Crisis

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