The Boston Tea Party

Engraving of the Boston Tea PartyEngraving of the Boston Tea Party

The Boston Tea Party was not a cozy gathering on a quiet afternoon, with Mother pouring Earl Grey from a silver teapot and handing round plates of salmon sandwiches and dainty cakes. It was an act of protest in Boston’s harbor, and Mother and her teapot were not there. But some very angry people were.

In 1773 Massachusetts, where Boston is located, was a British colony. The people living there had to pay taxes – including a tax on imported tea - to the British government. Not many people like paying taxes, but in the British colonies in North America the situation was very unfair. The fact is, the colonists did not have the right to send representatives to Parliament. How would people in Buskerud or Østfold feel if they had to pay tax but did not have the right to send representatives to the Storting? It would never happen, of course, but things were different over 200 years ago.

To make a long story short, on the evening of 16 December a group of men, some of them dressed as Indians, boarded three British tea ships and threw 342 chests of tea into the harbor. That means 90,000 pounds of tea, or about 41,000 kilos. Relations between Britain and her North American colonies became even worse, and the American Revolutionary War broke out in 1775. We might say that the Boston Tea Party was the first step on the road to independence.


Activity

Correct the information in these statements:

  1. Boston was a British colony.
  2. People living in North America liked paying taxes.
  3. There were lots of North American representatives in the British Parliament.
  4. Nothing has changed since 1773.
  5. Indians boarded British ships in Boston harbor.
  6. They threw 90,000 kilos of tea into the sea.
  7. British people were happy when they heard about what had happened in Boston.
  8. The Boston Tea Party made North America a peaceful place.


Activities for the links below

1) First, read through the text on the first website below. Then find sentences which relate to the following:

  1. The geography and climate of the New World made life difficult for the immigrants.
  2. The Pilgrims depended on their religious beliefs.
  3. The family was the most important unit in life in the colonies.
  4. Women’s roles.
  5. The immigrants’ reasons for travelling to the New World.
  6. The settlers’ first worry was keeping alive. Then they wondered how they should be properly governed.
  7. The importance in family life of the father.
  8. Urban life became a fact at the beginning of the eighteenth century.


2) The second link is a biography of George Washington. Use it to make a timeline of the most important events in his life, using your own words and writing simpler English than that in the text. Refer to these dates:

  • 1732
  • 1754
  • 1755
  • 1759 – 1775
  • 1775
  • 1781
  • 1787
  • 1799