The Tea Act Of 1773
The Tea Act of 1773 was an Act of British Parliament that granted the British East India Company the ability to export and sell tea directly to the American colonies free of most taxes. The purpose of the Tea Act was to help the struggling British East India Company and to make them more competitive in the American tea market against Dutch smugglers and Dutch tea sold by the colonies.
What Did The Tea Act Of 1773 Do?
- Reduced taxes on the British East India Company tea: The Tea Act of 1773 reduced the duties Britain made the East India Company pay on tea in Britain, allowing them to sell the tea in America at a lower rate.
- Gave East India Company a monopoly: The Tea Act removed the requirement that any tea sold to the American colonies had to be bought first in Britain. This effectively gave the East India Company a monopoly on the tea trade in the colonies, as they had a better price.
- Undermined colonial merchants: The Tea Act of 1773 hurt colonial merchants who had been smuggling Dutch tea, as the East India Company could now undercut their prices. As a result, colonial merchants who opposed the Tea Act organized the Boston Tea Party as a protest against the act.
Why Was The Tea Act Of 1773 Controversial?
The Tea Act of 1773 was strongly opposed by many of the American colonists because it undermined the colonial merchants who had been smuggling Dutch tea, and because it represented another example of British taxation without representation. The passage of the Act led to the famous Boston Tea Party in December 1773, in which colonists boarded East India tea ships and dumped their tea cargo into the harbor. This event helped to spur the American Revolution and the fight for American independence.