Explain how the British taxed Colonial tea in Johnny Treamain.

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England taxed tea, and the Americans responded with the Boston Tea Party by throwing the tea into the harbor.

Johnny Tremain tells the story of America in the days leading up to the Revolutionary War.  Young Johnny begins as an apprentice silversmith, but an injury to his hand leads him to seek other employment.  Before he knows it, he finds himself following the revolutionary leanings of some of his former customers.

Chapter 6 begins with a comment on the Tea Act from the British point of view, saying England had gone far in “adjusting to the grievances” of the colonies.

But she insisted upon a small tax on tea.  Little money would be collected by this tax.  It worked no hardship on the people’s pocketbooks: only threepence the pound. (Ch. 6)

The biggest problem, as Britain was well aware of, is that the “stubborn colonists” did not like to be taxed “unless they could vote for them men who taxed them.”  As the slogan went, they were not in favor of taxation without representation.  This tax was known as the Tea Act, and was just one of many hated unfair taxes.

While the Chapter indicates that the East India Trading Company received the brunt of the tax, the truth is that a tax on tea was a difficulty for struggling colonists.  Many of them used a lot of tea.  I guess it was time to drink coffee instead!

The solution, Johnny saw, was for a number of revolutionary-learning colonists to dress up like Indians and throw the tea in the harbor as an act of defiance to the mother country.  Not only did this waste the tea and hurt the East India Trading Company, cutting into their profits, it prevented England from collecting the hated tax from the Tea Act.

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Johnny Tremain

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