The Boston Tea Party was a protest in response to the 1773 Tea Act, the latest of a series of parliamentary directives stretching back to the 1765 Stamp Act. Yet the Tea Act was never intended to be so provocative. It was devised to reduce tea smuggling within the British Empire and boost the sales of tea legally imported to the American colonies by the East India Company, a mega-corporation with an all-too-cozy relationship with the British Government.
But it backfired spectacularly, antagonizing Boston merchants and driving them to the newspapers to denounce the Tea Act as tyrannical and monopolistic and as a threat to free trade and colonial liberty. When three ships arrived in Boston harbor in December 1773 laden with East India Company tea, one hundred local men took their protests to the streets, boarding the ships, tossing the cargo overboard, and turning that harbor into one giant, swirling teapot.
Led by University of Maryland historian Richard Bell, this Conversation explores the 1773 Boston Tea Party – from its immediate local impact in America's colonies to its wider ramifications across global economies and political science. Bell argues that the Tea Party marks the first major protest in America against corporate greed and the effects of globalization. This conversation will also argue that the "Tea Party" was also an unprecedented act of domestic terrorism that brought on dramatic consequences for relations between Crown and colonies and set the stage for the American Revolution. There will be several interactive components as well as time reserved for questions.
About Your Expert
Dr. Richard Bell is Professor of History at the University of Maryland. He holds a PhD from Harvard University and has won more than a dozen teaching awards, including the University System of Maryland Board of Regents Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching. He has held major research fellowships at Yale, Cambridge, the Library of Congress and is the recipient of the Andrew Carnegie Fellowship and the National Endowment of the Humanities Public Scholar Award. Professor Bell is author of the new book "Stolen: Five Free Boys Kidnapped into Slavery and their Astonishing Odyssey Home," which was shortlisted for the George Washington Prize and the Harriet Tubman Prize.
This conversation is suitable for all ages.
90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.
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Dr. Bell gave a wonderful presentation on the Boston Tra Party. His manner of teaching is one that works well for us; not too fast, tells the story in an easy to follow manner, and gave a lot of background. We would definitely listen to him again.
Dr. Bell's work to situate American history within its global context is so interesting and important. This seminar was fascinating as he drew the connections between China, Great Britain, the American colonies and how those connections created a cascade of decisions leading not only to the Boston Tea Party but actually to the American Revolution. Dr. Bell was his usual effervescent, brilliant, engaging self as a presenter.