What Did American Colonists Use to Send a Forceful Message to Britain to Communicate Their Feelings About the Tea Act?

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American colonists did not allow ships carrying tea to dock in Philadelphia and New York and refused to pay the British-imposed tax in response to the Tea Act. Colonists dumped the tea off of three ships into Boston Harbor in what became known as the Boston Tea Party.

Colonists objected to a series of taxes imposed by the British Parliament, claiming Parliament had no right to tax them because the colonies had no representation in Parliament. Parliament cancelled most of the taxes except for the tea tax, which had two goals: prop up the financially-troubled East India Tea Company and show the colonists it had the authority to tax them.

In December 1773, three ships carrying tea arrived in Boston Harbor. The colonists were enraged, refused to pay the tea tax and demanded the ships leave. The Collector of Customs refused to let the ships leave until the duty was paid. On the night of Dec. 16, 1773, Samuel Adams and around 200 other colonists disguised as American Indians boarded the three ships, and in three hours, they dumped 45 tons of tea into the harbor. Parliament retaliated by passing the Coercive Acts of 1774 to punish Massachusetts and Boston in particular for their defiance of British authority. One of the Coercive Acts closed Boston Harbor until the damages caused by the Boston Tea Party were paid. The Tea Tax, the Boston Tea Party, the Coercive Acts and other incidents eventually led to the American Revolution.