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The Boston Tea Party

The Boston Tea Party was not a protest. It was a boycott throughout the colonies, having refused to accept shipments of tea in any of their ports. The boycott was successful because all the colonies were united in their refusal to accept both the tea and the duty that the British Government had imposed.

The law required the payment of the duty on tea after 20 days of sitting in the harbor and since Midnight December 16, 1773 was the deadline, the colonists dumped the tea.

The British responded with a series of "Coercive Acts", from closing the port of to taking much of the colonial government out of the hands of the colonists.

These British steps were listed prominently in the "grievances" section of the U.S. Declaration of Independence . The colonists essentially countered restrictions on their freedom by galvanizing support which lead to the First Continental Congress and to local (defensive) preparations for war.

The war came when the British decided to seize the colonists' gunpowder, which they were stockpiling to prepare to defend themselves. The whole dispute still rested upon the denial of the right of Great Britain to tax the colonies without their consent. Edmund Burke, the leading figure within the conservative faction, viewed the proceedings at Boston as nothing but open rebellion, and he said, "There is open rebellion in America, and it must be punished."

"Repeal your unjust laws and deal righteously with the Americans, and there will be peace and loyalty there," retorted the Opposition.

After a long and stormy debate, Burke’s ideas of the manner in which to impose order were adopted by an overwhelming majority, and that was evidently the direct cause of the American revolution.

The Americans did not revolt. They merely protected their interests.