How did the British Respond to the Boston Tea Party?
The Boston Tea Party of December 16th 1773 was a pivotal moment both for North American citizens, and for the British. The event was a symbolic rejection of British rule, and Great Britain responded with a number of sanctions and punitive measures they hoped would re-establish their authority over the American colonies.
The Coercive Acts
The Coercive Acts or Intolerable Acts were a series of new laws imposed by the British in response to the Boston Tea Party. These laws included:
- The Boston Port Act: This act closed Boston Harbor to all maritime commerce until the citizens of Boston had made retribution for all the destroyed tea.
- The Massachusetts Government Act: This act weakened the Massachusetts Charter, revoking many of the colonists’ self-governing rights.
- The Administration of Justice Act: Pursuant to this law, the British could remove any court case in which the King was an accuser or defendant to a different colony or even England.
- The Quartering Act: This act enabled British troops to be stationed in homes of private citizens throughout the colonies, who would be responsible for housing and paying the troops.
Apart from the Coercive Acts, Parliament enacted a variety of other restrictive measures in reaction to the Boston Tea Party. This included a bill that raised the price of East India Company tea in America, for the purpose of discouraging its consumption, as well as a general edict that all imperial officials in the colonies must only enforce laws specifically authorized by the Crown.
Ultimately, the British response to the Boston Tea Party had an enormous impact on the American Revolution. The Coercive Acts inflamed colonial tensions and united the population in opposition to British rule. This unified front contributed to the war effort, eventually leading to the colonists’ eventual independence.