April 27 – Why We Hate(d) the British

Gay Lynn HillAmerican History(BR), Bell Ringers

On April 27, 1773, the British Parliament passed the Tea Act.

The Tea Act was one of several acts passed by the British Parliament to try to generate revenue from the American Colonies to reduce the British debt. The main purpose of the act was to save the British East India Company by granting it a monopoly of tea imports and sales to the Colonies.

The Colonists resisted, including on December 16, 1773, with the Boston Tea Party, when they dumped British tea into Boston Harbor.

The overarching theme of resistance to the British, however, was that the Colonists felt they were being treated badly, unequally, and without representation. There was a growing sense that the relationship between the Colonies – where incomes were growing rapidly – and Britain was out of sync, and that the British were aloof in their attitudes and unfair in their policies. In short, the conditions for a revolution were growing.



Questions:
  1. One of the groups harmed by the Tea Act were smugglers, who brought in tea on their own ships without paying taxes. Should their concerns have mattered to the Colonists more generally? In other words, what happens to the Rule of Law during pre-revolutionary times?
  2. The lack of representation in law-making became one of the chief complaints against Britain. If you have the right to participate in making rules (say, in your family), but don’t get the outcome you want, do you feel the law is nevertheless just? Or is the outcome what matters (laws I like are just; laws I don’t, aren’t)?
  3. The tea thrown into the Boston Harbor was private property. Do you think the Colonists in general should have been required to pay for it? Or only those specifically responsible for destroying it?

Image Citation:

18, April 2018, “The Gang Cracks the Liberty Bell, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” [Digital photograph].  Retrieved from <google.com>.