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"The Boston Tea Party was a political protest that occurred on December 16, 1773, at Griffin's Wharf in Boston, Massachusetts. American colonists, frustrated and angry at Britain for imposing “taxation without representation,” dumped 342 chests of tea, imported by the British East India Company into the harbor".

Two simple questions:

  1. How did the colonists "get the British" by this behavior? It wasn't like the tea was owned by the crown.
  2. Why did they choose to ruin and dump such valuable tea, why didn't they just steal it for themselves?
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  1. They prevented the tax from being paid, since it was paid on the sale. This paralleled the earlier boycotts on the much large number of items that Parliament attempted to tax.
  2. To make it clear that they were doing this as a protest and not just as simply theft. They even replaced the lock they had broken to get at the tea in order to make it clear.

Discussion of the damage here.

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  • Thanks for clear answer. Meaning the protest was that the British were hurt by the fact that they were blocked from potentially accumulating a large amount of tax. – Avi M Aug 11 at 14:17
  • It's worth noting too that the east india company was an entity of massive political clout. they'd be well placed to protest at high levels in parliament at their loss of revenue, and demand some sort of change. (or, like, a bunch more soldiers..) – lupe Aug 12 at 9:34
  • The company did. They got the Boston Port Act, which ordered the port closed until the tea was paid for, and troops and naval ships were sent to enforce it. Those troops were the ones sent to Lexington and Concord, which started an even more exciting phase, and resulted in the evacuation of British forces without the payment. – Mary Aug 18 at 1:05

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