Wednesday, December 16, 2015


JFK+50:  Volume 6, No. 1799


Boston, Massachusetts (JFK+50) As President of the United States during the Cold War, John F. Kennedy often spoke about the importance of liberty both in the nation and around the world.  JFK's love of liberty came naturally.  He was born in a city where the seeds of American liberty were sewn, Boston, Massachusetts.

Two hundred forty-two years ago this evening, December 16, 1773, the Sons of Liberty* boarded three British East India Company ships (Beaver, Dartmouth, & Eleanor) docked at Griffin's Wharf and destroyed 342 chests of tea in protest of the British Tea Act of 1773 which gave a monopoly on the sale of imported tea to the American colonies to the British company.

While the tea act effectively lowered the price of tea, it maintained the tax and forced the colonists, in buying the tea and paying the tax, to accept the principle of taxation by the British Parliament.  Since the colonists had no representatives in that body, they argued that this was "taxation without representation."

Approximately 200 men were involved in the tea party, many dressed as Mohawk Indians and carrying a variety of axes.  The purpose of the disguise was to protect the individual identities of the participants.

 One of the men, identified as George Hewes, said...

"In about 3 hours from the time we went on board, we...had...thrown overboard every tea chest to be found."

The Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum says that 92,000 pounds of tea were destroyed which would have a value today of $1,700,000.  Other than the tea itself and a broken padlock, no damage was done to the ships or their crews.  In fact, the "indians" were very careful to sweep the decks clean and put everything back in place after the "party."

Today, on the 242nd anniversary of the Boston Tea Party, free admission will be offered to visitors to the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum and there will also be a parade.

The Boston Tea Party led to the passage of the Coercive Acts, known as the Intolerable Acts in America, which punished the city of Boston and the colony of Massachusetts for the deed.Both the Tea Party and Coercive Acts were important causes leading to the outbreak of the American Revolution.

*Sons of Liberty was a secret colonial society founded by Samuel Adams to protect the rights of Americans and to fight against British taxation laws.  The group included John Hancock, Patrick Henry, Paul Revere and Joseph Warren.


"Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum,"

Boston Tea Party 
Ships & Museum
35mm Slide
Photo by John White (1987)

John White 
Boston Tea Party
Ships & Museum 
October 1987

Boston Tea Party
Ships & Museum
Photo by John White
October 1987