BOSTON TEA PARTY
In 1773, the British Parliament passed the Tea Act, giving the British East India Tea Company complete control over tea sales in the colonies, and essentially allowed for the formation of a monopoly on all tea sales. This act was the final straw for the colonies after a series of unfavorable legislative decisions by the parliament. Although by itself, the Tea Act was meant to have no impact on the colonies, but only allow for the East Indian Company to sell to a new market at a reduced rate. Patriots took this as a method by Parliament to gain support in the colonies. If Americans could buy tea at a reduced rate, maybe they would become less averse to paying the Tea Tax which had been put in place by the Townshend Revenue Act of 1767. The colonists became outraged that American colonists were being undercut in terms of tea sales. So much in fact that ships that would arrive in New York and Philadelphia with tea to sell were immediately turned away and the tea remained unaccepted in protest. Similar efforts were put forth in Boston when ships named the Beaver, Dartmouth, and Eleanor arrived, but Lieutenant Governor and Chief Justice of Massachusetts, Thomas Hutchinson, refused to send the ships away, ordering them to remain in the Harbor until everything was figured out.
On the night of December 16, 1773, a group known as the Sons of Liberty, led by Samuel Adams, boarded the boats and threw 342 chests of tea overboard into the harbor. The men disguised themselves as Mohawk Indians as they did not want their true identity discovered. The chests that were destroyed carried more than 90,000 pounds of tea, and it is estimated that they amount of potential profits destroyed by the event would be worth $1,000,000 today.
After this action by Adams and the other patriots, the British Parliament became outraged. Parliament concluded that Massachusetts in particular was playing a major role in the resistance of British rule. Because of this, the Coercive Acts of 1774 were passed in order to punish those who had resisted, specifically those in Boston. The acts were a series of four that were designed to critically hurt the people of Boston. The Harbor was shut down, there were implemented restrictions on public gatherings, British officials were now above the law and unable to be punished, and the Massachusetts public was now required to house British Troops.
The response to the Coercive Act was support for Massachusetts from the other colonies (something that Parliament was not expecting) and an overall unification of the colonies in resistance to the mother land. Like the Boston Massacre, the Boston Tea Party is more symbolic than anything else. It showed as yet another sign of the displeasure of the colonists with the way the British ran the colonies. As these events became more and more prevalent, the likelihood of war became even more prominent as tension continued to rise.