Are there any modern (or at least recent) examples of civil disobedience which can be clearly compared to the Boston Tea Party? I am currently writing on the Boston Tea Party as clever act of...

Are there any modern (or at least recent) examples of civil disobedience which can be clearly compared to the Boston Tea Party?

I am currently writing on the Boston Tea Party as clever act of civil disobedience, and am looking for modern equivalents.

Asked on by mstaff1

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I do not think there are, and the reason for that is one that I think you need to consider as you write this paper.

First of all, I do not consider the Boston Tea Party to be an act of civil disobedience.  Civil disobedience is a much more open process that is done, as the eNotes link below says, in an "open and visible" way and with "the expectation of being punished."  These conditions did not apply to the Boston Tea Party.  The people who participated (some in disguise) did not stay around and wait to be arrested like Martin Luther King Jr and the civil rights movement people would.  Instead, they destroyed the property and escaped.

Because of this, acts that we now see as civil disobedience are not really similar.  Civil disobedience today means a sit-in at a lunch counter (well, not today, but 50 years ago) or it means blocking entrance to an abortion clinic and getting arrested.  The things that are similar to the Boston Tea Party are things that we see as simple crimes.  These are things like the Earth Liberation Front's burning of luxury houses to protest what they see as environmentally damaging overconsumption.

Overall, then, I would argue that modern civil disobedience is much more open than the Tea Party was.  Actions like the Tea Party would now be condemned as simple crimes.

Sources:

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