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It does not take a majority to prevail… but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men… Samuel Adams

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The completion of cycles in political life is probably what gives rise to the notion of irony in history. The Boston Tea Party – which included not only the destruction of tea in Boston but also the refusal to pay duty in New York and Philadelphia and the burning of a ship to the waterline in Annapolis – was publicly about the issue to taxation without representation. Less publicly it was about the profits from smuggled tea and the growing merchant class in the colonies who were chafing under Britain’s mercantilism. Today we have a political Tea Party that is publicly about the problems engendered by representation without taxation – the idea that everybody from a billionaire to a bum can get something for nothing from the government – that has finally chafed the taxpayers to begin grumbling. Unfortunately both the leadership and the courage for this latter-day exercise to ever effect any sort of change is lacking.

Cartoon shows America, seated on the left, and a sombre Britannia treated to a glass lantern presentation on the American Revolution. Father Time, leaning against a globe, provides a commentary on the momentous events projected by the lantern: an exploding teapot, the Boston Tea Party, over a fire that is fueled by paper taxed by the Stamp Act and fanned by the Gallic cock sitting on a bellows; as American troops advance on the right, British troops flee on the left.

Cartoon shows America, seated on the left, and a sombre Britannia treated to a glass lantern presentation on the American Revolution. Father Time, leaning against a globe, provides a commentary on the momentous events projected by the lantern: an exploding teapot, the Boston Tea Party, over a fire that is fueled by paper taxed by the Stamp Act and fanned by the Gallic cock sitting on a bellows; as American troops advance on the right, British troops flee on the left.

American tempest: how the Boston Tea Party sparked a revolution Cambridge, MA : Da Capo Press, 2011 Harlow Giles Unger United States History Revolution, 1775-1783 Causes Hardcover. 1st Da Capo Press ed. and printing. xiv, 288 p.: ill., maps; 24 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. 253-274) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

On Thursday, December 16, 1773, an estimated seven dozen men, many dressed as Indians, dumped roughly £10,000 worth of tea in Boston Harbor. Whatever their motives at the time, they unleashed a social, political, and economic firestorm that would culminate in the Declaration of Independence two-and-a-half years later.

The Boston Tea Party provoked a reign of terror in Boston and other American cities as tea parties erupted up and down the colonies. The turmoil stripped tens of thousands of their homes and property, and nearly 100,000 left forever in what was history’s largest exodus of Americans from America. Nonetheless, John Adams called the Boston Tea Party nothing short of “magnificent,” saying that “it must have important consequences.”

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