Is everyone aware that Saturday, Dec. 16 is the 250th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party?
If you sometimes wonder why we are Republicans in one of the deepest blue states in the nation which is in one of the bluest regions – the northeast, you are not alone. Why do we fight for conservative values when we have zero representation in Congress and very little in Massachusetts state government?
Reflecting on the Boston Tea Party – and re-educating myself on what happened during that period – helped me to understand why we do what we do.
For those of you, like me, who need a refresher of the events in 1773, here’s a brief summary: Well before the American Revolution and Declaration of Independence, the British Parliament and King George III had started raising taxes in the American colonies through the Stamp Act and other tax acts which became a burden on the colonists. Eventually, a group called Sons of Liberty decided to send a message back to the homeland by dumping 45 tons of tea onto the drink near what is now the Fort Point Channel in the Seaport district of Boston. Other colonies also had their version of protests, but Boston’s was the best known.
Interestingly, the most onerous of the new taxes had been rolled back prior to the Tea Party. But the principle of taxation at the whim of the British so angered the colonists that they protested against the remaining tea tax and the authoritarian government that imposed it.
So it wasn’t just about tea. It was about unfair treatment by an elitist, oppressive government that saw the colonists simply as a source of revenue. “You will pay what we tell you to pay!” When the patriots rebelled, Britain clamped down and removed their right to hold local elections and self-govern for local matters. They ended the Massachusetts Constitution, blocked the port of Boston, and established martial law.
What the patriots of 1773 wanted was:
- Relief from excessive and unfair taxation
- Local control of governmental affairs and self-government
- And freedom from a tyrannical government
Does this sound familiar? Same BS – different century.
During the re-organization of the Attleboro Republican City Committee in May, we reiterated these same points as we established our goals and objectives. We stated that we, as a group of local activists, support:
- Lower taxes
- Local control – the more local, the better
- Less government overall – it has grown to enormous proportions
After 250 years, we Republicans find ourselves fighting for the same things as those patriots who pitched crates of tea into Boston Harbor. It’s funny how some things never seem to change. They were worthy goals then, and they are worthy goals now.
If we don’t stand up as warriors, who will?