Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The history behind the revolt

The trouble started December 16, 1773 when poorly disguised colonists dumped large crates of tea into Boston Harbor. The act was direct protest of taxation without representation.
Here's what happened:
Tea was one of the most commonly consumed beverages in the colonial era. The major importer of tea, the East India Company was taxed by Great Britain which jacked up the price of tea. Colonists found it cheaper to drink smuggled tea from Holland, as Dutch tea was not taxed. Needless to say the East India Company and the Crown lost money.
In a major "get-back" move the British government sought to impose taxes on the colonies to collect lost revenue. The Stamp Act 1765--which did not tax stamps, but paper, skins or anything the colonist used to write upon (writs, warrants, notices, letters and even planting calendars).
The Townshend Act 1767 was yet another tax imposed upon the colonies to pay for the French & Indian War. The war was fought, argued Britain, on behalf of the colonists--they should pay for it. The fact that many colonists did not fight in the war was overlooked.
In 1768 Britain sent troops to enforce the payment of taxes (Quartering Act forced colonists to allow British troops in their homes). Tensions mounted and in 1770, five civilians were killed by British troops after being unable to withstand insults and snow balls being thrown at them. The event was called The Boston Massacre by Samuel Adams.
As the relationship between Britain and the colonies became more and more strained, protests shot up from Massachusetts to Virginia. And one December night over 300 casks of East India Tea were tossed overboard. Tea washed up on the shores of Boston Harbor for weeks.

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