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15barcam's avatar

Does anyone know what the significance of the symbol of the boston (political) tea party is?

Asked by 15barcam (721 points ) March 16th, 2011

The boston tea party is a third political party in the USA. I was just wondering what the significance of its symbol was to the PARTY itself and not the event the Boston tea party The symbol is of a cannon next to a box that reads “TEA”

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quarkquarkquark's avatar

I haven’t seen it, but I presume that it is a reference to the original tea party at Boston Harbor, which is generally regarded, if incompletely, as the event that signaled the beginning of the American Revolutionary War. Cannon = Revolution, Tea = Tea Party. Don’t think too hard.

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blueiiznh's avatar

Here is a link that will show the logo

The Boston Tea Party is a U.S. political party named after the Boston Tea Party of 1773. Its ideology is libertarian.
A group of former Libertarian Party members founded the party in 2006.

@quarkquarkquark While the Boston Tea Party Act that occured on December 16, 1773 was considered a key event that led up to Revolutionary War, it is not considered an event that signaled the beginning of it.

filmfann's avatar

The logo is amusing to me.
I am sure they were going for Revolution and Opposition to taxes, but you can’t get much more phallic that a cannon. Combined with the “Tea Bag the White House” chant, and I am surprised more Log Cabin Republicans aren’t in on this.
Oddly, I am more comfortable with this than the Florida Tea Party symbol , which shows the state of Florida with a rattle snake head and tail.

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ETpro's avatar

They certainly have no idea what the history of the real Boston Tea Party is. I am offended by these corporatists coopting such a patriotic name and event to push for fascism and corporatism. The original Boston Tea Party was an act of civil disobedience against the overreaching power of the British East India Company.

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Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

Yeah, don’t think too hard about it—- they haven’t, evidently. The present Party are pro-corporatists, the original Tea Party action was most decidedly anti-corporate.

The Tea Act of May, 1773, as enacted by the British Parliament, gave the East India Company (many of it’s most important stockholders were members of Parliament) the EXCLUSIVE right to import tea, duty-free, into the American colonies—while all other importers would still pay tea duties. This was a blatant attempt to monopolize the tea market within Britain and her colonies by enabling the East India Company to sell their tea at heavily reduced prices, thereby driving smaller importers such as the family-owned New England shippers out of the American marketplace. In other words, this was a classic power play by a large corporation using its financial clout (in lieu of democratic mechanisms) to influence government to their benefit and would have been devastating to the many American importers whose businesses were dependent on the profitable tea trade which buoyed local economies from Georgia to Maine.

When three shiploads of East India Company tea arrived in Boston Harbor in December, 1773, and protesters prevented the off-loading of the product (as they had done previously in three other colonies) and demanded the tea be sent back to Britain, the Royal Governor refused. This caused the enraged protesters to toss the tea into the harbor, inciting an immediate military response (there were no canons involved) which, among other events, soon led to armed conflict, beginning in the same environs in 1775 and then an all out, eight-year revolutionary war beginning at Brooklyn Heights in August, 1776.

I have the greatest respect for CaptainHarley, his background, and his service in our armed forces. He can call me an idiot any time he likes.

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MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@ETpro I don’t follow – would you mind walking me through that one, please?

Jaxk's avatar

@Espiritus_Corvus

Nice try. The Boston Tea party was all about taxation. From Wikipedia which is at least brief synopsis.

“The Boston Tea Party was a direct action by colonists in Boston, a town in the British colony of Massachusetts, against the British government and the monopolistic East India Company that controlled all the tea coming into the colonies. On December 16, 1773, after officials in Boston refused to return three shiploads of taxed tea to Britain, a group of colonists boarded the ships and destroyed the tea by throwing it into Boston Harbor. The incident remains an iconic event of American history, and other political protests often refer to it.

The Tea Party was the culmination of a resistance movement throughout British America against the Tea Act, which had been passed by the British Parliament in 1773. Colonists objected to the Tea Act for a variety of reasons, especially because they believed that it violated their right to be taxed only by their own elected representatives. Protesters had successfully prevented the unloading of taxed tea in three other colonies, but in Boston, embattled Royal Governor Thomas Hutchinson refused to allow the tea to be returned to Britain. He apparently did not expect that the protestors would choose to destroy the tea rather than concede the authority of a legislature in which they were not directly represented.

The Boston Tea Party was a key event in the growth of the American Revolution. Parliament responded in 1774 with the Coercive Acts, which, among other provisions, closed Boston’s commerce until the British East India Company had been repaid for the destroyed tea. Colonists in turn responded to the Coercive Acts with additional acts of protest, and by convening the First Continental Congress, which petitioned the British monarch for repeal of the acts and coordinated colonial resistance to them. The crisis escalated, and the American Revolutionary War began near Boston in 1775.”

quarkquarkquark's avatar

@Jaxk, I think what you and @Espiritus_Corvus have demonstrated is the fundamental feature of political discussion. You’re both entirely right.

ETpro's avatar

@MyNewtBoobs What @Espiritus_Corvus wrote above explains the true history of the Boston Tea Party. The various tea parties extant today may have begun as populist tax revolutions, even though our taxes are actually far lower than they were in the glory days of American growth and prosperity from 1945 to 1980—and in fact we have one of the lowest income tax rates of any developed nation on Earth.

But the parties have been co-opted by right-wing organizations like FreedomWorks and Americans for Prosperity. These right-wing astroturfing firms are heavily funded by corporatist like the billionaire Koch Brothers, Rupert Murdoch and a handful of other billionaires intent on destroying all unions and collective bargaining rights, empowering corporations to install lawmakers who will roll back regulations, workplace safety laws, wage protections and anything else that interferes with maximizing profits. They want a banana republic where they will be the ruling oligarchs and the bulk of society will be confined to generational poverty so they can have all the wealth for themselves.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

@Jaxk
The Boston Tea Party was the result not of additional taxation, but of the REMOVAL of a tax burden to a large corporation while continuing to tax smaller businesses into non-existence, giving unfair advantage to a large, multinational corporate entity. By forcing American colonial businesses to pass the cost of these duties on to the consumer and, in turn, forcing them out of the market greatly exacerbated the progressive disenfranchisement colonials were experiencing from their representatives in Parliament. Taxation without representation? True, but the real problem was that any new taxes after the Stamp Act of 1765 had to be paid in pounds sterling (which was rare and hard to obtain in the colonies), and not the more common colonial script —another stratagem to eliminate colonial business competitors. Like Franklin later said, the war wasn’t about taxation, it was about the devaluation and refusal of the Crown to accept colonial script. The Tea Act was the final brick in the wall that was increasingly separating colonists politically from their mother country.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

@Jaxk
I do not see where my description is in conflict with Wikipedia except for the phrases refering to “taxed tea.” These should read ” untaxed tea.” This is historically incorrect and should be edited. Wikipedia is an excellent source, but faulty at times.

gorillapaws's avatar

I like how they have the Native American headdresses on the box in the logo. It’s a cute move to scapegoat an impoverished and relatively defenseless minority population for the crimes being committed. Sound familiar to today’s political rhetoric at all?

augustlan's avatar

[mod says] Please remember, folks: This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Jaxk's avatar

@Espiritus_Corvus

Nothing I have read nor anything I can find supports your argument that the tea was untaxed. The Tea Act did allow the East India Co to bypass Britain and save on those taxes and it gave them a legal monopoly on tea imports but the tea imported to the colonies was taxed. Another discription of it. And those taxes were an affront to the colonists.

bkcunningham's avatar

@15barcam you asked, “I was just wondering what the significance of its symbol was to the PARTY itself and not the event the Boston tea party The symbol is of a cannon next to a box that reads ‘TEA.’ ”

Like the participants of the 1773 tea party events, the modern Boston Tea Party is comprised of ordinary citizens peaceable protesting heavy handed government and excessive taxes. Modern tea parties started with citizens opposed to pork and the American Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Act taxes imposed by arrogant representatives who don’t listen to the people they are suppose to represent.

@gorillapaws many accounts of the 1773 Boston Tea Party events say participants disquised themselves as native American Mohawks or Narragansett Indians. Thus the headdresses on the logo.

blueiiznh's avatar

@Jaxk The taxes were not the issue although it was a consideration. The Tea Act was the issue and it meant that the East India Tea company was going to be able to undercut every
even smuggled tea. It mearly re-sparked the taxation debate. Read on…..
I worked on the replicas of the Dartmouth and the Eleanor ships during college in Boston

gorillapaws's avatar

@bkcunningham I’m well aware of the reference, and therefore my comments above. The fact that the modern Tea Party chooses to include this particularly shameful aspect of the legend in their logo seems to indicate they don’t mind erroneously scapegoating the innocent to advance their cause. At least that’s how the symbolism clearly appears to me.

blueiiznh's avatar

@gorillapaws I understand the disconcern over the masking or trying to lay false blame. But remember, it was a very different time. Recall the Boston Massacre a few years earlier but still in the memory of Bostonians.
It is simply explaining the logo

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

“The Tea Act was an Act of Parliament of the Parliament of Great Britain to expand the British East India Company’s monopoly on the tea trade to all British Colonies, selling excess tea at a reduced price. (13 Geo III c. 44, long title An act to allow a drawback of the duties of customs on the exportation of tea to any of his Majesty’s colonies or plantations in America; to increase the deposit on bohea tea to be sold at the East India Company’s sales; and to empower the commissioners of the treasury to grant licenses to the East India Company to export tea duty-free.) It was passed on May 10, 1773.”
~ Wikipedia, The Tea Act.

ETpro's avatar

@Espiritus_Corvus Is right, @Jaxk. Although some Colonists wrongly lumped the Tea Act in with taxation without representation, and you can find much such talk in the phamplets of the day and thus the histories of this day, the Tea Act was not actually a tax increase on tea, but a tax decrease. The monopolistic aspects of it are what the informed citizens who attended the Boston Tea Party objected to. It’s rather tragicomical that whether knowingly or unwittingly, much of today’s Tea Party has been hijacked by right-wing astroturfing and PR groups intent on rolling back regulations to the point that monopolies will become the rule of the day, basically accomplishing just what the Boston Tea Party sought to derail.

Jaxk's avatar

@ETpro

That’s not quite accurate. The ‘Townsend Acts were passed to raise revenue from the colonies. They were met with great resistance in the colonies and resulted in the Boston Massacre. Britain repealed those acts all except the tax on tea. The Tea Act allowed the East India Co. to bypass Britain and ship directly to the colonies from the far east. Previously they were required to import the tea into Britain before shipping to the colonies which added extra duties to it. The Tea Act eliminated those extra taxes but did not remove the import duties to the colonies. It also gave the East India Co. a monopoly on the tea business. The colonies were still facing the duty on tea imposed by the British government and that was a problem for them. As was the monopoly on the business.

To say that the Tea Party was simply to support the American tea business is quite a stretch. The taxation without representation was not in error it was a real problem. Britain retained the tax out of principle and the colonies revolted against that principle.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

@Jaxk

1. If this was simply about exhorbitant taxation, why did the colonists wait until after the Tea Act was put into effect before instisting that the Tea be returned to Britain? (Taxation had been increasing since the 1760s in order to pay for the colonial offshoot of the Seven Years War).

A: Because up until the Tea Act, all imports were taxed with at least a semblance of equanimity. The Tea Act gave unfair advantage to the EIC and allowed them to cut prices and threaten the very existence of American businesses. No, I don’t think it unreasonable that this could incite an action such as the Boston Tea Party, in fact, the monopolization of the market by the EIC was the primary cause of the protest action. If it was only about taxes, they would have been throwing tea into harbors long before the Tea Act, and not just the EIC tea.

2 Why did they specifically target East India Company Tea?
A: Because the EIC was the only tea importer allowed to import tea duty-free into the colonies, thereby puting every other importer out of business. If this was about taxation, why target the one company that was able to beat the taxes? And why target only EIC tea?

I stand by my original statement earlier in this thread.
This was primarily an anti-corporate action against a large corporate entity that threatened the existence of American Tea importers.

bkcunningham's avatar

“Charles II’s Queen, Catherine of Braganza, was a Portuguese princess who had grown up with a taste for tea. When she married Charles and came to England, tea gradually became a fashionable drink in courtly and aristocratic circles. This was made possible by the East India Company, which in 1664 placed its first order for tea – for 100lbs of China tea to be shipped from Java for import into Britain. This steady supply continued until 1678, when an import of 4,713lbs swamped the market until 1685, when 12,070lbs was imported, swamping the market again. This pattern continued until the end of the century. But the eighteenth century was very different. Tea drinking really took hold as an activity for the whole population, and the East India Company’s imports rocketed. By 1750, annual imports had reached 4,727,992lbs.

“In fact though, tea was still very expensive, partly because of the Company’s monopoly on the trade and partly because of high taxes imposed upon it. To satisfy the demand of the less wealthy, an enormous amount of tea was smuggled in and sold illicitly – some was even brought in on the East Company’s own ships, by crew members who then sold it on to smugglers. This situation continued for years, until the William Pitt the Younger became Prime Minister in 1783. With the Commutation Act of 1784, he slashed the tax on tea so dramatically that smuggling became pointless. Thereafter virtually all tea was imported legally by the East India Company.

“But in the decades leading up to Pitt the Younger’s Commutation Act, tea smuggling had really hit the profits of the East India Company. Needing to increase profits and offload the surplus tea that the Company had accumulated during the worst years of the smuggling, it asked the British government for permission to export direct to America, which at this time was still a British colony. Permission was granted, and it was decided that the tea would carry a tax of 3d per lb. The Americans were outraged, many considered such British-imposed taxes illegal. They were doubly angered by the decision that the Company should also have a monopoly on distribution, another move that was intended to help it out of financial trouble. When the Company’s ships arrived in Boston in late 1773, the townspeople resolved that the tea should not be brought ashore nor the duty on it on paid. But the colonial administration would not allow the ships to leave port. The deadlock eventually resulted in the Boston Tea Party, when a mass of townspeople, dressed as Native Americans, boarded the ships and threw all the cargo of tea overboard. This was one of the key events that sparked off the American War of Independence.”

http://www.tea.co.uk/east-india-company

Jaxk's avatar

@bkcunningham

Sounds like an accurate depiction of events.

Ron_C's avatar

In order to make the new Tea Party analogous with the original one, they should be fighting free trade acts and most favored nation status for foreign countries and corporations. Instead they are fighting to lower corporate (domestic and international) taxes, removing regulations that protect the health of our citizens with a negligent affect on corporate bottom lines, and fighting against the right for all citizens to have reasonable health care. I feel sorry for those poor deluded teabaggers.

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