The Boston Tea Party

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How did the British react to the Tea Act?

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In general, there was very little reaction from the British people (if we do not include the American colonists as British people) to the Tea Act of 1773.  The Tea Act affected the colonies much more than the “mother country.”  The act was significant to the British East India Company and to some merchants in Britain, but not to the populace as a whole.

The Tea Act of 1773 was meant to help the East India Company economically.  The company was in financial difficulties and the Tea Act was meant in part to help it sell more of its tea in the colonies.  The profits of the East India Company and the price of tea in the colonies were not issues that were important to most Britons.  Therefore, there was very little reaction to the Tea Act of 1773 in Britain itself.  We can see evidence of this in the two links below.  One is a history of tea in England and the other is a timeline of English history.  Neither mentions the Tea Act at all.  This was simply not a major event in British history.

The British did react, however, to the Boston Tea Party.  The Tea Party came about because of American opposition to the Tea Act.  The destruction of the tea by the radical American colonists caused most British political figures to be very angry at the colonists.  They felt that the colonists had gone too far by destroying private property to this extent and they felt the colonists needed to be taught a lesson.   This led to the imposition of the Coercive Acts/Intolerable Acts on the colonies.

Thus, there was really not much British reaction to the Tea Act, but the act did bring about the Boston Tea Party and there was strong British reaction to that event.

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