For Kids: During Colonial times, what do you think was the favorite drink of the colonists? If you guessed tea you would be right. Just like the people in England, the colonists loved to drink tea. The British Parliament decided to use this knowledge to gain money for the crown.
The Tea Act: About a year after the committees of correspondence sprang up, British Parliament passed the Tea Act. This law gave one British company the right to control all trade in tea with the colonies. Tea would be shipped to the colonists on this company's ships. It would be sold in the colonies by this company's merchants. AND, the colonists would still have to pay the tax on tea. This company was the East India Tea Company.
This was done because Parliament needed money. They obviously had cracked a deal with the East India Tea Company. The East India Tea Company had lost a great deal of their profit in the colonies due to smuggling.
To British Parliament, control of trade had always been part of the law they recognized as valid in the colonies. After all, to them, goods were supposed to be carried on British ships. Not that they always were, but they were supposed to be.
To the colonial leaders, the Tea Act was just like the Stamp Act - an attempt by Parliament to seize control from colonial government. First, taxation without representation, then the Townshend Acts, and now control of trade. Colonial leaders found this totally unacceptable. But what to do about it?
December 16, 1773, The Boston Tea Party: A group of colonists in Boston, dressed as Native Americans boarded three tea ships anchored in Boston harbor. They dumped over 300 chests of tea into the salty water.
Some colonial leaders offered to pay for the tea if Parliament would repeal the Tea Act.
Parliament refused the offer to pay for the tea, and passed a group of new harsh laws to punish the Massachusetts colony. The colonists called these laws the Intolerable Acts.