Tax Rebels: Boston Tea Party Guide For Kids

Throughout US history, there have been many occasions where citizens have risen to the call of freedom and liberty, but none have had quite an impact as the famous Boston Tea Party. The Boston Tea Party represents the will of the people against an oppressive government, and has now become the basis for the modern day Tea Party. This famous event was a result of the people fighting against the English government as well as the East India Company, which controlled importing of tea and other goods into Boston Harbor at the time. In 1773, something called the Tea Act was passed by British parliament. This law determined that the people would pay extra tax on any tea that was brought into the harbor. The citizens rebelled against this taxation in the form of a protest now known as the Boston Tea Party.

How the Tea Party Began

In the 17th century, Europeans and American colonists had enjoyed consuming tea as a regular part of life. Soon, companies from the East Indies began selling tea to the British, and starting competing with other tea companies. Any tea that was imported into Great Britain had a 25% tax on it, which was originally charged to the East India Tea Company and others who had opted to import their goods into the area. Eventually, the companies importing tea realized that they did not want to pay these high taxes themselves, so they began discussing possibilities of passing some of the taxes onto the consumers. This meant that people in the colonies had to pay tax on items they wanted to buy, tea in particular. This was known as the Townshend revenue Act of 1767, and thus began taxing the citizens without their consent, resulting in very angry colonists.

Who Was Involved in the Tea Party

Because the colonists were unhappy about the “taxation without representation,” they began looking for tea without any taxes imposed. Smugglers often brought in tea for sale without taxes applied. In most of the colonies, protestors were able to get the tea importers to leave and go back to England, because they were not willing to pay the import tax. In Massachusetts, however, the governor ordered the tea to continue to be delivered regardless of the protests. This angered the residents, and a meeting was called to order. The tea crisis became a major issue and eventually, Samuel Adams called a mass meeting to discuss the problem. He gathered up thousands of people who decided that they would stage what would eventually be known as one of the most important protests of all time.

The Boston Tea Party

In November of 1773, over one hundred protestors awaited a ship called the Dartmouth to come into the Boston Harbor to deliver the tea. They hid behind barrels and some were dressed as Mohawk Indians. When the boat arrived, they climbed on board and began dumping the chests full of tea into the sea. It was the colonists’ way of saying that they were not going to accept the unfair taxation, and that they were not going to allow their government to determine their fate. While Samuel Adams did not encourage or condone the event, he has been credited in being instrumental in encouraging the protestors to make a statement. This event is often considered one of the beginning triggers of the American Revolutionary War.

While the Boston Tea Party did not end all taxation and there was still oppressive rule from the British Parliament, it was a bold statement of the colonists to remind England that they were not going to be pushed around. Word spread quickly about the Tea Party, and soon colonists in other areas were emboldened with a new sense of rebellion and self-defense against their oppressive leadership. Today, there is a new political party known as the Tea Party which also fights for the rights of Americans and their freedom from unnecessary taxation. This historic event has certainly become one of the most significant and symbolic protests of all time.