Manataka American Indian Council


 Proudly Presents





Excerpt from:

"Don't You Believe It:
Exposing the myths behind commonly believed fallacies"
by Herb Reich

Boston Tea Party Myth:
On December 16, 1773, a group of colonists dressed as Indians boarded a ship anchored in Boston Harbor and tossed chests of British tea overboard as a protest against a tax on the tea imposed without their consent. The citizens were objecting to a feared increase in the price of their precious tea. So goes the story, memorialized in American history as the Boston Tea Party.

Don't you believe it. 

The facts tell it somewhat differently. The colonists did not expect an increase in their taxes: quite the opposite. Influential merchants feared for their market dominance in the tea trade.

The Tea Act, designed to save the East Indian Company from bankruptcy by making its prices more competitive, actually reduced the duty on imported British Tea, which then lowered the price to the consumer. But the spectra of competition threatened the brisk commerce in smuggling tea from Holland by American traders, notable among them John Hancock. The expectation of cheap British tea caused the famous incident, not the imposition of a new tax or an anticipated increases in the cost of living.

But the event was strategically misrepresented as a popular demonstration against a repugnant autocracy. In truth, the incident was engineered by American commercial interests, acting to preserve their control of the profitable American tea business.

However, not all colonists applauded the event. Benjamin Franklin felt the East India Company should be reimbursed for the loss of its property. George Washington feared the incident would bring British retaliation. It was, after all, a crime-the wanton destruction of another's property-but became a patriotic landmark.



Skyhorse Publishing, 555 Eight Avenue, NY, NY 10018
Chapter: Boston Tea Party, p. 76


Submitted by:  Doug George-Kanentiio