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Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Original Tea Party

The original Tea Party took place on this date in 1773. The circumstances are worth remembering. Contrary to myth, the Tea Act did not raise taxes. Rather it enabled the East India Company to flood the American colonies with cheap tea, thereby propping up the company and tempting the colonists to accept the existing tax. In the short run, at least, they would have come out ahead economically by accepting the cheap tea, even with the tax. But they objected to the idea of taxation without representation, especially as part of a scheme of corporate welfare. "The British Ministry," wrote Benjamin Franklin," have no idea that any people can act from any other principle but that of interest and they believe that three pence in a pound of tea, of which one does perhaps drink ten pounds in a year is sufficient to overcome all the patriotism of an American."