American Village excited for 250th anniversary of Boston Tea Party

Published 4:03 pm Wednesday, December 13, 2023

FROM STAFF REPORTS

MONTEVALLO – On December 16, 2023, America will celebrate the 250th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party. In 1773, the East India Company’s warehouses in London were filled with millions of pounds of tea they could not sell because the Colonists discovered that they could buy tea from smugglers at a lower price! To help the East India Company, King George III and the British Parliament passed the Tea Act. 

The Tax Act was enacted in three parts: 

  • Added a tax of three pence per pound (about $3.00 today) on tea. 
  • Required the tax be paid when it was unloaded in the Colonies. 
  • Named the East India Company as the only company allowed to sell tea in the Colonies. 

All 13 colonies were fighting for survival due to economic strains brought on by massive inflation following the French and Indian War. Great Britain was heavily in debt following the war and imposed these new taxes without regard for the harsh economic realities of the American colonies.   

All 13 colonies were outraged by the tax and, once again, protested “No Taxation Without Representation,”   Near the end of 1773, three ships – the Eleanor, the Dartmouth and the Beaver – carrying tea from England, arrived in Boston harbor. Samuel Adams and the Sons of Liberty decided the tea would not be taken off the ships and into Boston. 

Nearly 7,000 colonists gathered in Boston’s Old South Meeting House to protest the Tea Act. Some had used soot and red clay to paint their faces to disguise themselves as members of the Mohawk tribe. In the 1770s, the Mohawks were a symbol of freedom and liberty in the colonies and the Sons of Liberty felt this “disguise” would represent their cause. 

As the meeting ended, hundreds marched down to Griffin’s Wharf, where the British ships were docked. The mob’s leaders led 60 colonists into groups to board the three ships and destroy the tea. The men dumped 342 chests (45 tons) of tea into Boston Harbor. The tea destroyed that night would be worth over $1 million dollars in today’s currency! 

Until the 1800s, when it was renamed the Boston Tea Party, the events of that December night were known as “the destruction of the tea.” Soon after the destruction of the tea, Paul Revere was sent on two trips – to Philadelphia and New York City – to tell the story of the tea party to colonists outside of Boston. When King George III found out about these events, he became determined to make the colonists pay for what they had done, leading to the passage of the Intolerable Acts in 1774.  

July 4, 2026, marks the 250th Anniversary of America and the Declaration of Independence. 

To observe this momentous occasion, the US Semiquincentennial Commission established the America250 Campaign

By joint resolution, the Legislature of the State of Alabama created the Alabama USA Semiquincentennial Commission (the Alabama Commission) to plan, promote, and implement 

where appropriate, activities, events, and public celebrations. There are eleven voting members on the Commission, including The Governor of Alabama as Honorary Chair, two members appointed by the Lieutenant Governor, two members appointed by the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, two members appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, two members who are Alabamians serving on the United States Semiquincentennial Commission, and two citizens at large, appointed by the Governor. 

The mission of the America250AL Campaign is to support, create, and execute events and activities that celebrate the principles set forth in 1776. Between 2023 and 2026, America250Alabama (A250AL) will engage Alabamians in educational programs, community activities, and statewide initiatives that educate, inspire, and remind us why we continue to ‘Choose to be an American People’.  

The Alabama Commission designated the American Village campus of the Citizenship Trust as an Alabama “celebration capital” of the commission and a national and regional welcome and education center for the United States Semiquincentennial. American Village will create and stage celebrations, events, and activities. American Village will guide and support local communities as they promote and deliver creative approaches to celebrate historically relevant events they identify within their local area.