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Defiance of Patriots

In: Historical Events

Submitted By mattsmith911
Words 1267
Pages 6
Matthew Smith
March 2, 2014
History 2010-012
Defiance of Patriots Paper The Boston Tea Party was shaped by events that occurred inside and outside North America and had nontraditional actors; poverty in Bengal, pressure from New York and Philadelphia, Native Americans, and the youth all played roles in causing the tea protests. In Bengal the East India Company was administrating the country and their greed drove the country into poverty, hardship, and starvation. Pressure from Philadelphia and New York put on Boston to hold true to their non-importation agreement, including a ban on tea, helped motivate actions for the Boston Tea Party. The Native Americans played a nontraditional role for the protesters in Boston because of what they symbolized. The youth of Boston were another example of nontraditional actors that helped shape what the protests became. Boston faced many struggles as a town, from being heavily taxed to having their port shut down. Citizens of Boston never gave up the hope of freedom and they came together as a town to fight for what they thought was just.. The East India Company was in Bengal, today located in India, and they were administrating the colony for the British government on a charter granted to them. In the year 1769 not a single drop of rain fell, rice was 20-50 times higher the normal price, an estimated 1.2 million died, and citizens were driven into poverty, this was called the Fall of 1769. The East India Company was only in Bengal to make money, and regardless of the well being of the people the East India Company continued to tax the people heavily. This caused the East India Company to fall into debt and so the British government bought the company to save it because the revenue brought in from the company was an asset to the crown. Once word of these events reached Boston and the rest of the colonies, Americans thought that if the East India Company can do that to Bengal then the same thing could easily happen to them. As a result of this economic collapse in Bengal, Parliament passed the Townshend Act, which focused on taxing American colonists, to make up for the debt the East India Company put itself into. Americans did not like the idea of being taxed without representation in Parliament. In fact, it haunted Americans so much that they threatened to boycott imports. British merchants were scared of American boycotts on British imports and so the Townshend Act was repealed, but not all the way. “To make sure Americans knew that Parliament retained the right to tax the colonies, and to ensure that the colonies would remain a source of revenue, they kept the tax on tea in place” (Carp, 17). This would later cause problems for the colonists because The East India Company could run a monopoly on tea prices since it received a tax break from the Tea Act that stayed in place. Philadelphia and New York Sons of Liberty members put pressure on Bostonians to hold true to the non-importation agreement and as a result the events of the Boston Tea Party occurred. Carp writes that a Philadelphia correspondent warned Bostonians that if they continued to accept tea they would confirm prejudices against them (Carp, 81). Philadelphians accused Bostonians of accepting legal and illegal tea. Because of this Philadelphians lost trust in Bostonians. If they continued they would hurt the cause they were working for. Years after the Boston Tea Party, residents of Philadelphia and New York still resented Bostonians for importing the tea during the non-importation agreement. The pressure put on by both towns with a large tea shipment coming was so great that the Sons of Liberty in Boston had to do something fast to prove their loyalty to the agreement they set. That pressure caused action to be put in place and people reacted by gathering to dump the tea, worth about four million dollars, into the harbor. Protestors disguised themselves as Native Americans not because they were trying to blame them, but because they were used as a symbol. The British viewed Native Americans as a nuisance because they have constantly fought Native Americans for territory and in the French and Indian War. The protesters used Indians as a disguise because they symbolize freedom and what America stands for. “If Great Britain was going to treat the colonies like Indians, then the colonists were prepared to fight like Indians” (Carp, 157). This shows the savage, ignorant, and uncivilized side of the symbolism in the disguise and fills the stereotype the British have on the Native Americans. Carp writes that Americans of all colors were natural citizens and had natural rights; this is what the protesters were fighting for (Carp, 151). The motive to use natives as a disguise is shown by this quote because the American colonies were settled to escape oppression and for everyone to be equals with each other. Instead, The British always saw the colonies as a way to make money. The youth of Boston were another force that helped the protests of Boston succeed. In 1765 Boston over half of the population was under the age of 16. For the protests to be successful in this town they needed the help of the youth to be successful. “Some masters encouraged their apprentices to attend, while others prevented them from leaving the house” (Carp, 118). Most of the masters let their apprentice go because they were too old to participate themselves and they believed in liberty, but for the masters that made their apprentices stay they were usually loyalists and believed in the crown. A memoirist from that time writes, “It’s perfectly natural that the spirit of insubordination, that prevailed, should spread among the younger members of the community” (Carp, 137). This quote shows that the youth are a symbol that is synonymous with liberty; they are energetic and reckless. After all the same youth that destroyed the tea are also the ones that participate in the Pope’s Day festivities. Usually white male elites organized to settle political affairs, but in this case the youth were called upon to take action against tyranny. The famous Boston Tea Party was caused by a number of events happening from inside and outside North America and was lead by nontraditional actors; greed and corruption in Bengal, New York and Philadelphia pressuring Boston, the Indians, and the youth all helped shape the Boston Tea Party. The East India Company administered the British colony of Bengal, but because of greed lost control and drove the citizens of Bengal into chaos. Citizens of New York and Philadelphia accused Bostonians of slacking off on the non-importation agreement, which drove them into action to destroy the tea. Native Americans had a big impact on the protests because protesters dressed up as them to disguise their identity and because of the symbolism Native Americans represent. Youth play a nontraditional role because half of Boston was under the age of 16; they were needed for their energy and recklessness for the tea protests to be successful. If you take a wider look at the motivation behind the Boston Tea Party you will see that not only events inside America, but international affairs impacted the protests in the colonies. The people that made the protests successful were not just white elite males, but impacts came from all walks of life. This is one of the early instances in American history where a diverse group of individuals come together to achieve a goal.

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