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."
Combining stellar scholarship with action-packed history, Harlow Giles Unger reveals the truth behind the legendary event and examines its lasting consequence--the spawning of a new, independent nation.
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This is the real (as opposed to commonly taught) story of the Boston Tea Party and the network of greed, smuggling, bribery, and personal vendettas that provided the impetus to the American Revolution. Truly, if you want to believe in the sanctity of the pursuit of liberty and freedom from tyranny that allegedly motivated the Founding Fathers, this is a book you should avoid. Unger, a respected historian, documents in this carefully written history the way in which, as he writes: "¿many were ready to sacrifice their honor as human beings ¿ and the blood of innocents ¿ by disguising their struggle for wealth as a quest for liberty for the common man.¿Unger reveals that the problem the Bostonians had with taxation issues and writs of assistance (or search warrants) was that they interfered with the huge smuggling operations which had been making them exceedingly rich. The purpose of the smuggling was to avoid paying any tax or duties to the Crown. As an example, Unger points out that at the time of the passage of the inflammatory Molasses Act of 1733, rum was New England¿s most popular drink. To make it, New England merchants smuggled an estimated 1.5 million gallons of molasses a year. They should have paid 37,500 pounds in duties for this molasses, which amounted to only three percent of their gross revenues. The proposed six-pence-per-gallon duty would have cut their gross profits from 1,200 percent to 1,161.5 percent! This is what caused Bostonians to get so incensed about their ¿natural right¿ to import cheap, duty-free molasses from the French, Spanish, and Dutch West Indies! (And it was so cheap, of course, because it was produced by slave labor.)The Americans, it should be noted, still expected the British to support and protect the colonies, but just not with their money. Moreover, the colonists also wanted to retain the right to sell supplies to the countries with which Britain was at war, including France, even when Britain and France were fighting in America!When the French and Indian War began in 1754 (started after an order to fire on the French by then twenty-one-year-old Lieutenant Colonel George Washington), the British, who lost thousands of men in America over the course of the next seven years, discovered that French forces were kept well-supplied in spite of being separated from their homeland by an ocean that was controlled by the British navy. Astonishingly, most of their supplies were British! The supplies were smuggled to Newfoundland by American merchants. As Unger observes, "Clearly, many merchants in Massachusetts had prolonged the war by smuggling essential goods to French forces, not only undermining the British military effort but depriving the British treasury of revenues to help pay for the war.¿This is the reason that William Pitt, in the British government, demanded that Parliament pass an act allowing customs officers to obtain writs of assistance to search and seize without specifying in advance specifically for what they were searching.Parliament also hoped to stop the new practice of bribery to customs officials for overlooking the mislabeling of shiploads of molasses, a technique to ensure it would be duty-free. The practice worked so well that colonists soon expanded their operations to include a wide range of other dutiable goods including tea. The ensuing wave of smuggling enabled the merchants to amass enormous wealth and power, while the British treasury suffered huge loses, and as Unger writes, ¿duty-free smuggling soon metamorphosed into one of the basic human rights afforded to all Americans.¿Meanwhile, at the end of the French and Indian War, colonists began to move west into land that was owned by Indians according to treaties made with the British. Both sides fought one another, and both demanded protection by the British. The French and Indian War had left the British government badly in debt, however, even while colonial merchants had reaped
Written in Mr. Unger's usual fashion - fast paced, and nowhere near deficient in information or historical importance. He pulls no punches and lays out the events surrounding the Boston Tea Party and the local politics of Boston and America. He does make passing comparisons between the colonial patriots and modern-day TEA Party members in his introduction. Making no aim to whitewash or cover the monied interests, personal gains and "human nature" of revolutionary America.A great recount of the events in revolt to numerous taxes enforced by British Parliament.
nothing, dull about the book.I would recommend this to all my friend.
There is a problem with the formating or the encoding of this ebook, which makes some entire pages illegible when viewed on the Nook Color.