How did the British react to the Tea Act?

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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.

ik9744 | Student

All of the Acts that the British put out did not really affect British citizens at all. The colonists where however affected. They were outraged by the Tea act to the point they dressed themselves as Indians and ran onboard on a ship that was carrying many chest of tea. They dumped the chest into the water, and spoiling it. However someone did steal some tea but then he was stripped naked and forced to walk home in the cold winter day.

Of course the British's King was not satisfied by this at all. He forced a new act out called, Intolerable act. This act banned the Committee of Correspondence, a group that talked to each other from different colonies. They banned them from sending letters, but this didn't stop them. All they had to do is make a meeting in real life. Next they banned the harbor, meaning they would get no supplies and soon would need to rely on themselves. This wasn't permanent though. The king said if they paid for the tea that was dumped, he would re-open it. Which they never did. They also applied another law stating that soldiers can take over any property they want at any time. This is different from the Writs of Assistance since they can COMPLETELY take it over.

This leading to the official training of militia trained by George Washington up till the battle of Yorktown. Thus creating alliances towards America, and separating the British from the new country.

rachellopez | Student

The Tea Act didn't really affect the British compared to how it affected the colonists. The Tea Act put taxes on tea that the colonists had to pay. This outraged the colonists and they felt that their rights were being taken by the British. The British, however, profited greatly from this act and they didn't have much of a reaction. They didn't seem to care about what the colonists thought until the Boston Tea Party.