The Tea Act of 1773
The Tea Act of 1773 was passed by Great Britain and signed into effect by King George III in an effort to prop-up the crumbling British East India Company. The Act set up a tea monopoly, giving the company exclusive rights to import tea directly to the American colonies.
Purpose of the Act
The purpose of the Tea Act was two-fold:
- To unload large stores of tea onto the colonies that the East India Company was struggling to sell in Britain.
- To increase revenue by lowering the costs of East India Company tea—and making it much cheaper than tea shipped by other traders.
Effects of the Tea Act
Although the Tea Act initially seemed to be a good deal for the colonists, it sparked a great deal of outrage. It took away the right of the colonies to tax tea imports, which meant that the colonial legislature could no longer determine the price of tea.
The Americans saw this as an illegal tax imposed by the British government, which threatened their economic autonomy. As a result, many colonists refused to buy the East India Company tea, and the famous Boston Tea Party was held in protest of the Tea Act.