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The Boston Tea Party occurred because of an effort by the British government to save the near-bankrupt East India Tea Company, American boycotts and smuggled Dutch tea had hurt this company; they asked the government for permission to sell their tea directly to the American colonics without going through English merchants as middlemen. The old tax on tea would remain, but tea would now be cheaper to purchase for the colonists. Lord North and Parliament approved the passage of the Tea Act that would legalize these changes.

Colonial leaders were furious. Some pointed out that this measure reaffirmed that Parliament could tax the colonies; others feared a monopoly of the East India Company on all colonial trade. In the fall of 1773, crowds prevented tea from being unloaded in several port cities. Predictably, Boston was the city where resistance was the strongest. On December 16, 1773, in an event called the Boston Tea Party, 65 men dressed as Mohawk Indians boarded the tea ships and dumped nearly 350 chests of tea in the harbor.

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