The REAL Boston Tea Party

By | April 18, 2009

With all the coverage of tea parties it is an excellent teaching moment to talk about the revolutionary roots of the real Boston Tea Party and initiate a discussion about whether Britain could have been removed from the American colonies nonviolently. (This is one of Colman McCarthy’s discussion questions in lesson 6 of the Class of Nonviolence.)

There are several (relatively) new resources that discuss this very question. “The Real Revolution: The Global Story of American Independence” by Marc Aronson (2005: Clarion) makes a brilliant connection between the tea grown in India and taxed in Boston, a foreshadowing of the military-industrial complex described by Eisenhower almost 200 years later.

Mark Kurlansky’s “Nonviolence: 25 lessons from the history of a dangerous idea” (2007: Modern Library) covers the nonviolent prelude to the American Revolution in chapter IV. It’s also available as an audio book, and this chapter is on disk 3, tracks 11-19 (or 3k-3s, depending on how your CD player reads the disk.) It’s 11 pages, just over a ½ hour of audio.

Ray Raphael wrote “A People’s History of the American Revolution” (2001: Perennial) tells the story from the view of the common people. The Boston Tea Party is covered in Chapter 4. Raphael’s web site has middle-high school lesson plans for each chapter.

To bring this right up to date, Thom Hartmann’s essay, “The Real Boston Tea Party was an Anti-Corporate Revolt” can be read on Common

This 3-minute Schoolhouse Rock video about the causes of the Boston Tea Party is fun and accurate.

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