Monday, December 16, 2013
December 16, 1773 - The Boston Tea Party
240 years ago, a group of brave patriots decided they simply weren't going to take it anymore.
Today is the anniversary of the Boston Tea Party.
What happened then has considerable resonance in our own times.
The colonies were under the thumb of a detached Ruling Class who decided that they could plunder their subjects at will. As part of that governance, the British parliament decided to forbid the colonists to but tea from anyone else but Britain in the 1773 Tea Act, and to pay a tax on it...without the American people having the slightest say in it.
The Tea Act and the tax were extremely unpopular, and protests had prevented the unloading of the taxed tea in three other colonies,New York, Charleston and Philadelphia. But the Massachusetts Bay Colony (as it was known then) was different.
There, the British appointed Royal governor Thomas Hutchinson, whose sons were tea merchants with a royal monopoly to sell it insisted that the tea be unloaded and distributed.
On the night of December 16th 1773, a gang of Bostonian patriots around 100 strong disguised as Indians boarded the Dartmouth, the Eleanor, and the Beaver and dumped 90,000 pounds of tea into Boston Harbor.Th efact that they chose to disguise themselves as Indians meant something besides merely concealing their identities. It meant that they were identifying themselves as Americans, a separate people.
It is worth noting something else here...this was an act of principle, not economics. Because the Tea Act eliminated various middle men and allowed the British East India company to sell directly to the crown appointed tea agents, the price actually lowered. What the colonists objected to was the right of the Crown to tax them at its whim without any representation in parliament. And when the governor refused to bow to the will of the people, they acted.
Parliament's response also showed that this was not about economics.No less than our own Benjamin Franklin declared that the destroyed tea should be paid for. Robert Murray, a New York merchant, went to then British Prime Minister Lord North with three other merchants and offered to pay for the tea, but the British government refused to accept payment.
Instead, the British responded in 1774 with the Coercive Acts, which ended and degree of local self-government in Massachusetts and closed off Boston's harbor. That led to further protests throughout the colonies and had the effect of unifying them, ultimately leading to the First Continental Congress which petitioned King George III for redress, and further united those colonists opposed to Britain's tyranny. Lexington and Concord followed and the American Revolutionary War began in 1775.
Today, our own Ruling Class sees the Tea Party as their 'subjects' in flyover country, a bunch of ignorant. knuckle dragging rubes who need to be ruled by their elite betters. That's pretty much how the British Crown saw those early Americans.
Both the men and women whom supported the original Tea Party of 1773 and its modern equivalent share frustration with elites who simply could care less about their concerns and attack our freedom with taxation and regulation the American people mostly have little or no say over. The very term 'Tea Partier' or in its nastier form 'teabagger' has become code within the media and the elites for racists, reactionary, gun toting Jesus lovin' morons.
It is high time that Americans who still care about freedom and see America as a bastion of freedom and human dignity took a good long look at how that freedom and dignity is being eroded every day by those whom have set themselves up as our Ruling Class. And became worthy of our ancestors by doing something about it.