What Was The Tea Act 1773?
In a straightforward sentence, the Tea Act of 1773 was a law passed by the British Parliament to directly help the East India Company to monopolize the 13 North American colonies’ whole tea market.
The Parliament drastically reduced British East India’s tea taxes to sell it at a low price in North American colonies using the act’s power.
The act received royal approval on 10th May 1773.
Through this law, the British Parliament legally decided that the colonists could buy tea only from the East India Company and not through anyone else.
This law did not have any purpose to directly impose a tax on Americans.
Because the old laws, such as the Sugar Act (1764), Stamp act (1765), Townshend act (1767) passed by them, now had to be repealed due to widespread protest and violence.
Therefore they passed this new Tea Act to grow revenue via monopolizing the tea market.
To make that happen, they used East India Company. This company had a leading role in the British economy.
The act significantly reduced the price of import and export of the East India Company’s tea.
Through the new law, we can clearly see a picture of British mercantilism.
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Why Did Colonists Hate The Tea Act And How They Respond?
Colonists, especially merchants seemed very angry about the act, who were before illegally trading with Dutch now about to lose their businesses.
They knew that if the price of the imported tea by the East India Company would go down, the local merchants would not be able to compete with them.
So they began resisting the new law.
Colonists’ most significant reaction was seen on the 16th of December 1773.
The day a group of patriots from ‘Sons of Liberty’ led by the patriotic leader Samuel Adams, wore dresses as Native Americans boarded on a British ship in Boston harbor.
The entire ship was filled with tea boxes, imported to the American colonies by the British East India Company.
The group of people dumped 342 chests of tea into the sea, worth around 10000 pounds (that time).
This was the first significant action or challenge taken by the colonists against British rule.
Later years, after America’s independence, this incident went popular as the Boston Tea Party.
How Did The Tea Act Lead The 13 Colonies Towards American Revolution?
As an act of resistance towards the Tea Act, on 16th December 1773, some patriots from the ‘Sons of Liberty’ executed the Boston Tea Party incident.
This incident was like a major blow to the English authority.
As a response to the incident, in the next year 1774, the British Parliament passed five punitive acts to punish the colonists.
American colonists named them ‘Intolerable Acts’.
After this decision of the British Parliament, the colonists’ dissatisfaction crossed all the limits and they did not sit calm.
In the same year 1774 on 5th September, 12 of the 13 colonies united in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at a historical meeting.
The meeting is famous as the First Continental Congress.
Here, they decided to counter all the bad decisions of the British King and Parliament.
After all these phenomenons, the next year 1775 on 19th April, the battles of Lexington and Concord fully kicked off the American Revolutionary War.