Boston Tea Party: The 3 Reasons Why The Tea Was Dumped

Event DateDecember 16th, 1773
Further ReadingThe 7 Most Influential Founding Fathers Of The U.S and Did The Colonists Refer To Themselves As Americans

Many U.S citizens know of the famous Boston Tea Party, but few know of the 3 main reasons that the tea was dumped overboard in 1773. Several historians such as Benjamin Carp have presented various theories as the main reasons why the Boston Tea Party happened.

There are 3 reasons for the Boston Tea Party. First, the British Colonists were tired of the excess taxes being placed upon them without their representations. Second, these excess taxes were being used to pay for colonial judges and officials which made them subservient to the British and not the colonists. Third, destroying the tea in Boston set a precedent that monopolies over trade in the colonies would not be accepted.

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Without further ado, here are the 3 reasons why the tea was dumped during the Boston Tea party.

British Colonists Were Tired Of Being Taxed Without Representation In Parliament

One of the main reasons that the British colonists decided to dump the tea into the Boston Harbor was because they were tired of being taxed without representation.

The Boston Tea Party was a symbolic gesture that the crown couldn’t sneak excess taxes past the colonists without their approval.

From 1769-1773 the primary economic arm of the British Government, the East India Trading Company, would continue to import excess tea into England. This tea would sit in warehouses across England and continue to pile up.

In 1767 the first set of tea taxes in the colonies had been repealed. However, in 1773 a new tea act was put upon the colonies to help the East India Trading Company both sell their Tea and make back some money.

The Tea Act of 1773 forced the colonists to buy Tea legally from the East India Company. This was done by importing the tea in bulk and forcing the colonies to pay a tax upon the arrival of the tea.

The Tea itself would be sold at a discount price to prevent smugglers. However, when one factored in the price of the initial tax to import the bulk the it was actually considerably more expensive.

This made the colonists furious. They could not repeal this law as they had no representation within parliament. For many British colonists this was the last straw and many would start to see themselves as American instead of English.

The main cry of the Boston Tea Party that we hear today is “taxation without representation.” The reason was because the British Colonists were being taxed without representation in the English parliament.

As such one of the main reasons that the tea was dumped during the Boston Tea Party was because it represented the colonists being taxed without representation in parliament.

The Excess Revenue From The Taxes Was Being Used To Pay Off Colonial Officials In The Colonies

Another reason that the tea was dumped during the Boston Tea Party was because the revenue from the excess taxes was going to pay the salaries of judges and officials in the colonies.

From 1767-1768 the British Empire announced a series of taxes against the British Colonies to help pay back the debt incurred from the 7 Years War. These series of taxes would come to be called the Townshend Acts.

In particular The Vice Admiralty Court Ace of 1768 would make it so that any judges appointed by the crown in the colonies would be given 5% of any fine they imposed upon a colonist.

As you might imagine this angered the colonists. Now Judges that were appointed by the English crown would have incentive to both write laws and pass fines that directly benefited them financially.

Under the new Tea Act of 1773 a percentage of the raised taxes would be given to colonial officials. This would overtime make the judges and mayors of the colonial towns loyal to the crown and not to the people of the colonies.

As such the dumping of the tea before it could be taxed on the dock would result in no tax being generated. This in turn would mean that no ‘bonuses’ could be given to colonial officials.

As such one of the main reasons that the tea was dumped during the Boston Tea Party was because it prevented colonial officials from becoming loyal to the English crown instead of to the colonists.

Dumping The Tea In The Boston Harbor Set A Precedent That Monopolies Over Trade In The Colonies Would Not Be Accepted

One of the main reasons the tea was dumped into the harbor during the Boston Tea party was because it represented an attempt at monopolizing the commerce of the British Colonies.

The East India Company in 1773 was given complete control over the tea trade between the British Empire and the British Colonies. This greatly angered the colonists because they saw themselves as equals to the English.

Why then were the British Colonists being treated like the other newer British colonies such as India. For nearly 100 years the British would engage in commerce with the British Empire through middlemen which allowed for a free market.

Now the British crown was giving one company sole control over the economic exchange between the two companies.

A majority of the tea that the British Colonists bought came from Dutch smugglers. Even though this was illegal it was significantly cheaper for the British colonists.

The tea act of 1773 made it so that not only would the British tea be cheaper it also would give the East India Company a monopoly over all tea trade in the British Colonies.

As such, the easiest way to destroy this monopoly was to destroy the tea.

This prevention of monopoly of the tea trade was one of the main reasons why the tea was dumped during the Boston Tea party.


There you have it; an entire article going over the 3 reasons why the tea was dumped during the Boston Tea Party.

Each reason for the colonists to row 3 boats out dressed as native Americans and dump the tea is fascinating. Several historians have proposed that the reason that the colonists wore the native headdress was because they were recognized as Americans instead of English.

Here at The History Ace I strive to publish the best history articles on the internet. If you enjoyed this article then consider subscribing to the free newsletter and sharing around the internet.

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