The birth of a nation

On Dec. 16, 1773, a bunch of American colonists staged a tea partyî in Boston Harbor to protest an act by the British parliament that would have given a virtual monopoly on the sale of tea in North America to the East India Co.

According to history.com, the value of the tea dumped into the harbor from three ships — the Dartmouth, the Eleanor and the Beaver — was a mere $18,000. But it set off a firestorm that eventually led to the Revolutionary War.

Parliament responded to the raid by passing the Coercive — or Intolerable — Acts.

Again according to history.com, ìthe Coercive Acts closed Boston to merchant shipping, established formal British military rule in Massachusetts, made British officials immune to criminal prosecution in America, and required colonists to quarter British troops.

A direct result was the call for the first Continental Congress that took place in Philadelphia from Sept. 5 to Oct. 26, 1774. That Congress petitioned King George to stop enforcement of the Coercive Acts.

The British government ignored the petition of the colonists. As a result, the Second Continental Congress was convened the following year and preparations began in earnest for the organizing of militias and the defense of the colonies. We were on the path to the American Revolution.

Some 246 years later, the seemingly small act of defiance that was the Boston Tea Party looms large in the history of nations. The experiment that became the most successful democratic republic ever was born on the docks and ships in Boston Harbor.

(Sources: History.com and Wikipedia.org)

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