Who was the leader of the Boston Tea Party?

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Michael Ugulini | (Level 3) Educator

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There is not a definitive consensus on who led the uprising known as the Boston Tea Party. What is known is that this event took place on Thursday, December 16, 1773, and took place for three hours between 7:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m.

Some believe that Samuel Adams was the leader of the Boston Tea Party. Others do not believe this as they felt Samuel Adams had to be careful not to directly engage in, and be implicated in, anti-British acts. British authorities had the power to extradite treasonous colonists to Britain.

However, George Hewe's account of the Boston Tea Party implicates John Hancock and Samuel Adams. He stated that both of these men were involved in the destruction of the tea. Does that mean they actually led the uprising? It may or may not.

Some believe the Masons, disguised as Mohawk Indians led the Boston Tea Party revolt. Another theory is that the Sons of Liberty (led by Samuel Adams) were the perpetrators of the event.

On that night, 116 people participated in the destruction of the tea inventory on the three ships at Griffin's Wharf. Forty-five tons of tea, which were stored in 342 containers, was thrown overboard. This was to protest the duty placed on tea that came into the colonies. The colonists were angry about taxation without representation in the British Parliament. The British Parliament felt they had the right to impose taxes on the colonies. 

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