On December 16, 1773 — not two years before the full scale American Revolution – Colonists; members of the secret Patriot organization termed the Sons of Liberty, and others in the New World disguised themselves as Mohawk Indians, then boarded ships loaded with East India Company tea, and dumped 342 chests of tea into Boston Harbor.
The Boston Tea Party was an in-your-face rebellion by Colonists in the New World against the Old World ‘s attempts to maintain control on freedoms and to exert taxation without representation. The Boston Tea Party represented the culmination of frustrations and pressures from the British Government that the Colonists had tried to escape by coming to the New World in the first place.
John Hancock and numerous others had been involved in the smuggling of tea into the Colonies, and promoting boycotts on tea from China, where the East India Company tea originated. Smuggling tea helped to make John and others quite wealthy.
The rebellion was as much against the East India Company’s perceived monopoly on tea as it was against the British Parliament for favoring the company by passing legislation which positioned them to gain back the Colonies’ tea revenues.
Of course, the wealthy smugglers were not very happy with Parliament’s favoring of the East India Company, since they knew that the company had engaged lobbyists to schmooze the members of Parliament. And, the Colonists were convinced that Parliament was selling them out to big business, and they took it as a direct attempt to restrict and control their new found freedoms in the New World; and they did not like that at all!
Samuel Adams, one of the leaders of the Sons of Liberty in New England, was highly instrumental in engaging an ever growing crowd of protesters in Boston . They held several protest meetings, each one drawing more supporters.
On December 16, 1773, when the crowd number gathered for that night’s meeting was allegedly around 8,000, the Sons of Liberty left the protest meeting and carried out what is now known as the Boston Tea Party.
Prominent members of the Sons of Liberty included Paul Revere, Thomas Young, Joseph Warren, Alexander McDougall, Patrick Henry, John Hancock, Isaac Sears, John Lamb, James Otis, Thomas Crafts, Jr., John Adams, and his cousin, Samuel Adams, who was a leader of the New England resistance. Silas Downer, a so-called Forgotten Patriot, spoke as a Sons of Liberty member at one of the famed Liberty Trees in 1766.
It is of interest to note that the Sons of Liberty were not very well thought of by British Authorities, Loyalists and British media. They were called Sons of Violence and Sons of Iniquity. Also interesting to note is the parallel one can draw between that era’s Political shenanigans and today’s.
Of course, it is now recognized that the Boston Tea Party was very likely the main spark that ignited the flame which would become the full-scale American Revolution only several short months later.