December 16th 1773: Boston Tea Party

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Boston Tea Party

 

On this day in 1773, American revolutionaries protested the British colonial government’s Tea Act by dumping crates of tea into Boston harbour. The men were members of the patriot group ‘Sons of Liberty’ and disguised themselves as Native Americans. Their grievance was the taxation on tea which was imposed upon American citizens without their representation in British Parliament. The event remains an iconic moment in American history as a symbol of resistance against the oppressive colonial powers which led to the revolution and American independence.

 

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Plaque commemorating the site of the Boston Tea Party

 

Today, 240 years after the event, it is hard to separate the Boston Tea Party from the ‘Tea Party’ who recently came to prominence in the American Republican Party. The Tea Party are a right wing group who are staunchly opposed to so-called ‘big government’ and tend to be very socially conservative. Many consider the Tea Party to have had a corrosive, as opposed to constructive, impact on American democracy, perpetuating an increased partisanship which divides the country and paralyses Congress. However, despite this association, today is a day to remember an iconic moment in American history which symbolises the American revolution and its battle cry of ‘no taxation without representation’.

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