What Caused the Intolerable Acts?

The Boston Tea Party of 1773 was the final act of defiance that prompted the British government to pass the Intolerable Acts of 1774. The American colonists' previous boycotts were also a factor in the government's decision.

American rumblings against the British government began after the Seven Years' War when the British Parliament imposed taxes on the colonists to help defray the costs of defending the colonies from their enemies. Angered at a lack of representation in parliament, the colonists boycotted British goods, wrote petitions to the king and spoke up at home and abroad in support of their rights as Englishmen. A further set of taxes, the Townshend Acts, enraged the colonists even more, paving the way for the Boston Massacre of 1770. After this tragic incident, the goverment removed all taxes except the tea tax. Placated for a while, the colonists were still loath to buy British tea, preferring instead to avoid the tax and its political implications altogether by buying smuggled Dutch tea. In an effort to entice Americans to buy surpluses of British tea, the British Parliament passed the Tea Act in 1773. However, the colonists saw the move as a ploy to get them to buy into the tax, so a group led by Samuel Adams destroyed the tea in port, an act known as the Boston Tea Party. Anger over this illegal activity resulted in the Intolerable Acts, which themselves paved the way for the American Revolution.