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Reactions to the Boston Tea Party

From the “Talking History with Benjamin L. Carp” Video Series – Webisode 4


john adams were initially surprisingly quite excited about this they see as
great defense of of thecolonists liberties. other people are youknow are nervous and unsure waiting, to see what happens and other people are outraged as what they see as an act of vandalism, and act of property destruction

something that was really beyond the pale, was really productive of disorder and unruliness and something that just showed how far the sons of liberty were willing to go.

there were a lot of people who called the sons of liberty the sons of violence and had really disparaging names for them because they thought that they were just than overturn society.

revolution was not necessarily a positive word. it meant the up turning of everything that people knew. and so if you are of a more conservative mindset then these actions like the boston tea party looked really threatening

so yeah again reactions uh… across the american colonies were very mixed. i think most people probably did want a peaceful revolution. what most americans said for most of the period of1774 even as late as the spring of 1776 was they wanted to remain good british colonists

they want to have a fruitful and productive trading relationship with the mother country they were willing to adhere to customs regulations. they didn’t necessarily want to have to pay direct taxes levied by parliament.

they would have been much more comfortable paying taxes to their local legislatures and maybe having some of that money kicked upstairs to the british empire. but there’s a real difference of opinion about of the proper workings of the british empire so really the americans didn’t want war, didn’t want independence. a lot of americans are very reluctantly dragged kicking and screaming to the idea of independence and for most americans this probably happened very late in 1776 after the publication of thomas paine’s, common sense.

you know it’s really got late that americans really begin taking the idea of independence seriously. some americans were more radical about it. some of
them were thinking about independence

you know in 1775 perhaps as early as 1774. certainly after the battles of lexington and concord uh… it was hard to see how you could kind of pave over the bloodshed that had already taken place. but it’s not necessarily the americans or something that the americans are seeking from the outset.

Professor Benjamin L. Carp Profile Picture

Professor Benjamin L. Carp

Benjamin L. Carp is an associate professor of early American history at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts. He has written about firefighters and the American Revolution, nationalism in Revolutionary America and the Civil War South, cities and the American Revolution, and the Boston Tea Party. He grew up in Woodmere, New York....

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