After the French and Indian War, relationships between the colonists and the British government quickly soured. In Boston, men hanged an effigy of stamp official Andrew Oliver to a tree. When the Lieutenant Governor Thomas Hutchinson ordered its removal, an angry mob destroyed the tax office and even the lieutenant governor’s house. Soon, events escalated to a revolution.
On March 5, 1770, colonists in Boston threw snowballs and rocks at British soldiers.
The soldiers fired. Some accounts claim they fired on purpose; others say that the first shot was a mistake. Regardless, five Bostonians were killed. Governor Thomas Hutchinson ordered the soldiers arrested.
After the Boston Massacre, a group known as the Sons of Liberty formed more than 80 chapters in towns in Massachusetts.
Samuel Adams, often called the “Firebrand of the American Revolution” called for Committees of Correspondence, which met and wrote to each other about news and ideas. This committee helped unify the colonists in their desire for freedom.
In 1773, the British passed the Tea Act, which stated that the colonists could only buy tea from the East Indian Company. Parliament’s plan was to help the tea company while selling cheap tea to Americans. The colonists believed the British were once again interfering where they had no business.
On December 16, at least 5,000 Bostonians met at Old South Church to protest the Tea Act. Dressed as Indians, they went to the tea ships lying in the Boston Harbor and threw 45 tons (more than 80,000 pounds) of tea in the sea.
In retaliation, the British passed the Coercive Acts. Colonists called it the Intolerable Acts. Soldiers blocked trade in and out of Boston. They closed the port until the colonists paid for the tea and banned all town meetings. They took control of the government, making General Thomas Gage the governor.
1. Effigy: a straw doll or dummy
2. Escalate: rise or increase
3. Interfere: become involved
Questions and Answers
Question: What happened after the Boston Tea Party?
Answer: The British put the hammer down on the colonists, hoping to subdue them. Their plan backfired. Previously, wealthy colonies, such as Virginia, had been loyal to the crown. The Boston Tea Party united the colonies. In September, 1774, a group of 55 delegates met in Philadelphia for the First Continental Congress. They made united plans to respond to Great Britain’s tyranny.
Visit PBS to learn more about the Boston Tea Party.
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