One of the most controversial decrees made by the British Empire in all of American History was the Tea Act. It was an act established on 1773 by the British Parliament that stated that the East Indian Company would have to cruise directly to the American colonies to export their tea instead of going first to Britain and then export it again to the same colonies. This consequently made the tea cheaper for the Americans, but how did this make it controversial for them?
East India Company
At that time, the British East India Company had been facing bankruptcy due to the reduced sales of their tea. They originally ran their business by monopolizing tea throughout the colonies. The highly-priced tea brought about a lot of smugglers to sell tea without the tax. Now this became a very dangerous situation for the company; huge piles of boxes were left to rot inside their warehouses since no one was buying them.
In addition to that, the British Empire was displeased, so they decided to help out the company. In May of 1773, the Tea Act was established to solve their problem. The desperate attempt drastically reduced the price of their tea in order to attract a lot of buyers and to compete with the tea shipped from Holland. Unfortunately, the Americans were not at all pleased with this move. They were apparently forced to buy only the ones from the East Indian Company.
Yes, the prices did go down. The offer looked tempting for the Americans, but they were no fools. The East Indian Company only sought to strengthen the monopoly they had been running to get back on track. The price reduction did not change the fact that the British Empire had used this ploy to continue their notorious tax collection strategies. This issue was no exception to the prominent slogan of the American colonists: “No taxation without representation.”
Boston Tea Party
The most prominent group that was against this was led by a man named John Hancock. The boycott they organized left the East Indian Company penniless. No one wanted to buy their product. Every state greeted the docks with a variety of reactions. The British ships were forced to sail back upon reaching New York and Philadelphia. The people in Charleston did not give any form of attention to the packs of tea that were left on the ships to perish. However, a drastic turn of events occurred in Boston. What happened in Boston soon became one of the most notable events that eventually led to the American Revolution.
On December 16, 1773, a governor in Boston named Hutchinson refused to give up. He did not allow the tea ships to leave without getting paid for the tea. A man named Samuel Adams tried to contain the collecting crowd, only to be overwhelmed by them and the impending occurrence of the Boston Tea Party. Later that day, the people disguised as Mohawk Indians boarded the ships and dropped the boxes of tea into the water.