December 16, 2017
Most Americans have heard of the Boston Tea Party that occurred on December 16, 1773, and know it was a response to the Tea Act passed by Parliament. (see ) However, the patriots did not destroy thousands of pounds of tea because of one piece of legislation. It was the result of years of a government refusing to listen to the people.
When Parliament instituted the Stamp Act in 1765 on the colonists while refusing to allow them representation in the governing body, patriots starting fighting back under the Liberty Tree. (see ) Samuel Adams organized the Boston branch of the Sons of Liberty, and led a resistance of “No Taxation Without Representation” that continued until the Revolutionary War.
As tea was a growing desired commodity in America, Parliament sought ways to utilize its trade to generate revenue. They passed laws, which collected a 25% import tax from the British East India Company, who was forced to sell their tea to Britain at auction at wholesale prices. Another consumption tax was placed on tea sold in Britain. However, since the Dutch did not have such taxes, British tea became extremely expensive in comparison.
Trying to compete with the Dutch in England, Parliament rescinded several of the taxes to lower their prices. However, they shifted those taxes on to the colonies with the Townshend Revenue Act of 1767 (see ). With no representation in Parliament, colonists had no one to argue against these new taxes. As a result, Adams and the Sons of Liberty revived their “No Taxation Without Representation” slogan, encouraging colonists to purchase illegally smuggled Dutch tea instead, of which John Hancock participated in. Due in part to the Sons of Liberty’s boycott, Parliament repealed the Townshend Acts, except for the tea tax, on March 5, 1770. (see ) Ironically, the Boston Massacre occurred that same day, negating any good will the tax repeal meant to show. (see )
Parliament kept the Tea Act for two reasons. First, they saw it as a means to demonstrate to the colonists that they had the right to tax the New World at their pleasure, an idea the Sons of Liberty and other patriots vehemently rejected. Secondly, the funds were used to pay the salaries of government officials in America. Colonists previously provided these salaries themselves. Fearing this arrangement produced officials sympathetic to the colonists, Parliament assumed these payments in efforts to ensure officials loyal to the crown. However, they used the money collected from the tea tax to do it. In essence, colonists were still funding the officials’ salaries but without the benefits as Parliament now gave them their wages. Therefore, those employees became fully devoted to the crown and its interests, which often meant oppression and control over the colonists.
As Parliament continued to adjust and manipulate the tea trade, they only aggravated the problem. As a result of a 1772 Act, prices again increased causing British tea sales to plunge. Tea supplies accumulated as colonists refused to purchase them, exacerbating the already critical financial crisis occurring in India. Thus, Parliament devised a new strategy.
A new Tea Act was passed in 1773 allowing the East India Company to sell directly to America, bypassing previously high markups, as well as additional charges due to any middlemen. Parliament aimed to reduce prices enough to undercut illegal Dutch tea, enticing the boycotting colonists back to British tea. However, the tea still included the original tea tax and all the consequences of it.
Furthermore, the new law set up a monopoly for the East India Company. It excluded American ships in the transportation of England’s tea while allowing only selected merchants loyal to the crown the authorization to sell the tea. This arrangement was sure to devastate American merchants dealing in both legal and illegal tea. As a result, colonists not only continued, but intensified, their resistance.
As the first seven ships under the new law headed to America, news of the new Tax Act spread. When they arrived in the ports in Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Charleston in November of 1773, the patriots were ready. The ships in Philadelphia and New York were successfully turned back to London without incident. Likewise, the tea was unloaded peacefully in Charleston, yet it was sent to a warehouse to rot. However, Americans eventually sold the tea years later to help fund the war against the British. On the other hand, the three ships sent to Boston found themselves in a tug-of-war between the colonists and the government.
When Adams first heard of the Tea Act of 1773, he formed the Boston Committee of Correspondence to address the issue. Customs law required ships remove their freight and pay the duties within twenty days of entering the harbor. While Adams negotiated with John Rowe, owner of the Eleanor, and Francis Rotch, owner of the Dartmouth and Beaver, over the tea, he allowed them to freely unload all their cargo except the tea.
It was now December 16th and the ships were on their last day in the harbor per law. The customs collector still refused to allow the ships to return to London with the tea still on board and without paying the tea tax. In a meeting at the Old South (Church) Meeting House that morning, Adams persuaded Rotch to take their request directly to Royal Governor Thomas Hutchinson. (see and ) Rotch returned hours later only to inform the Boston Committee and the community that the Governor promised to attack his ships if he tried to leave with the tea. Negotiations were at a stand still. Realizing this, Samuel Adams rose from his pew and proclaimed, “This meeting can do nothing more to save the country!”
Upon hearing the announcement, 60 men gathered outside donned Mohawk Indian headdresses and other garb, heading towards Griffin’s wharf where thousands of locals were anticipating a resolution. Colonists cheered as the resisters boarded the three ships and began dumping the 340 chests containing 92,000 pounds of tea. (see ) Due to the large amount of tea in the harbor, some remained on the surface of the water unharmed. Several protesters jumped in small boats, heading out into the harbor to ensure the tea was destroyed and unable to be salvaged by the British. A similar event occurred in New York shortly after, yet it did not have the impact of the Boston Tea Party.
Enraged with Boston’s actions, Parliament once again looked to legislation to punish and control the colonists. The Boston Port Act closed Boston Harbor until the city paid the £18,000 tea bill. Other Acts followed, collectively known as the Coercive Acts, or more commonly, the Intolerable Acts. While they were meant to hurt Boston and make an example of them, the Acts instead proved only to unite the colonists against a government that refused to listen to the governed. Within sixteen months, the first official shot of the Revolutionary War was fired as the Red Coats marched towards Lexington to confiscate the colonists’ guns. (see and )
Two hundred and thirty-five years later, similar anger and frustration brewed in the hearts of the citizens. However, this time it did not end in a tea-filled harbor. Instead, it led to calls to drain the swamp.
On February 18, 2009, after one month in office, Democrat President Barack Obama officially announced his $75 billion Homeowners Affordability and Stability Plan designed to prevent nine million homeowners from facing foreclosure. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, two government run lending institutions, would receive another $200 billion to buy up and refinance these disastrous loans.
The following day, financial trade expert and CNBC on-air editor, Rick Santelli, criticized the plan from the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Furious at the idea of bailing people out who bought loans they couldn’t afford, traders surrounding him cheered as he expressed his displeasure in pure Samuel Adams fashion. It was Griffin’s wharf all over again. In a spontaneous moment, he announced, “We’re thinking of having a Chicago Tea Party in July. All you capitalists that want to show up to Lake Michigan, I'm going to start organizing.”
However, to get a clearer picture of the situation, one must study the root of the problem. In 1994, Democrat President Bill Clinton’s Administration witnessed what they believed to be discrimination in the mortgage industry. Citizens were supposedly denied the American Dream because banks were hesitant to lend to low-income families. While the administration was striving for fairness, they failed to recognize reality. Banks were not rejecting these high-risk loans because of discrimination. They knew it would be harmful to both them and the customer to sell them a loan they could not afford. Regardless, Attorney General Janet Reno delivered an ultimatum to banks. Either start selling high-risk loans, or face harassment and prosecution from the government. The Clinton Administration tried to solve a problem that didn’t exist, manipulating the lending industry and leading to an unnecessary mortgage crisis that never needed to happen, devastating millions in its wake.
Within a month of Santelli’s rant, Tea Party protests began across the nation with the motto of “Taxed Enough Already”. While he didn’t cause the people’s anger, Santelli gave them a direction on how to organize it. Yet despite the media’s insistence that it was entirely a racist movement against Obama, the pot had been boiling for a long time, as with 1773. Made up primarily of conservative Republicans, Tea Partiers' frustration with Washington started simmering during their own party’s administration under George W. Bush. During his second term, his progressive side surfaced, leading to a 2007 amnesty bill, among other bills, that conservatives fought against with phone calls and letters to their Congressmen. Tired of electing politicians who promised one thing and acted against those policies once in office, ordinary GOP donors, including us, withheld their contributions. At the very end of his term, Bush orchestrated a bailout of the auto industry. The newly elected Obama Administration used the opportunity to hand pick the auto dealerships they would allow to remain open, just as Parliament did with the tea merchants. As with Parliament, dealerships loyal to the Democratic Party were overwhelming chosen.
The media virtually ignored the spontaneous, grassroots Tea Party movement, with any mention of it including false accusations of sympathetic Nazi symbols, property destruction and ramped racism. Meanwhile, they glorified the soon-to-follow generated and paid for Occupy Wall Street movement as genuine patriots who were actually defecating on cop cars, destroying private properties and businesses while expecting and demanding goods and services from those businesses, and racking up rape allegations faster than a Hollywood producer during a call-back audition. All of which the media conveniently overlooked and hid.
Despite their efforts to dismiss the movement, Republicans delivered a staggering defeat to the Democratic Party during the 2010 mid-term elections. While Parliament openly oppressed Boston for their resistance, the Obama Administration secretly began targeting Tea Party and Patriot organizations with the IRS. While their efforts successfully hindered the new Tea Party, they did not extinguish their spirit. However, the oppressive actions exploded, just as they did in 1773, on November 9, 2016, when fed up Americans realized, “This meeting can do nothing more to save the country!”
Electing Donald Trump was the direct result of citizens finally losing their patience with establishment politicians in both parties who have convinced themselves they don’t work for the people, but that they know better than the people, once again perpetually taxing the people who no longer felt represented. Parliament failed to recognize how their actions led to the Boston Tea Party, just as the media, the left, and the GOP establishment still cannot understand how Trump beat Hillary Clinton.
Liberty, your father and I proudly profess that we were part of the Tea Party movement from the beginning. Despite the oppression and discouragement from Washington, we still continue to fight for freedom, liberty and small government. Like Samuel Adams, we have always stuck to our principles, even if it means we may loose. It is the only way to walk away with your head held high.
Governments are notorious for trying to legislate behavior as they determine. (see ) As with all such laws, they always fail miserably. This is why it is imperative government be kept as minimal as possible. Otherwise, it seeks out places to insert itself where it doesn’t belong and grab control. If Parliament would have left the British East India Company alone, the tea industry would have been fine and we might very well still be under English rule. Likewise, if Washington D.C. had not forced banks to make horrible loans, there would not have been a mortgage crisis.
That’s my 2 cents.
TYRANTS AND TEA PARTIES