Tea and the British Empire: The Boston Tea Party in an Atlantic Context with Ben Rubin

Tea and the British Empire: The Boston Tea Party in an Atlantic Context with Ben Rubin


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On the anniversary of one of America's most famous but misunderstood acts of protest, learn about the importance of tea itself to the British empire, its significance as both a valuable commodity and a potent symbol, and how this humble leaf sparked a revolution.

On its surface, the Boston Tea Party is one of the odder events in American history. Dozens of Boston citizens, dressed as American Indians, boarded British merchant ships under cover of darkness and dumped chests of tea into the harbor.

But why tea? And why American Indians? How did this simple act of vandalism ultimately catapult the thirteen American colonies toward war and independence? And why has it become such a potent and adaptable symbol in American politics ever since? Most Americans know about the Boston Tea Party, but very few understand it. To fix that, we'll be looking at the event in the broader context of the British Empire and the Atlantic World.

Led by an expert on the American Revolution, Ben Rubin, this interactive seminar will take a closer look at this moment in American history and use it to explain America's break, psychological, cultural, and political, from its imperial parent. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased understanding of the eighteenth century, the British Empire, and the birth of America.

Ben Rubin is a public historian specializing in the American Revolution and Early America. Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, he holds a Bachelor’s Degree in History and Political Science from Hanover College, a Master’s in American History from Western Carolina University, and is a Ph.D. candidate in History and Culture at Drew University, as well a graduate of the School of Criticism and Theory at Cornell University. Ben taught history and writing at Bloomfield College for five years before leaving academia to start his own music education business, JC Instrumental. He continues to work in public history with Context Travel, leading both in-person walking tours and virtual conversations on early American history, and at Southern Campaigns of the American Revolution, where he has been a fellow since 2007. His work has been published in both academic and public history journals, and you can hear him most recently as a featured guest on the History Happy Hour podcast. He currently lives in Jersey City, New Jersey with his wife Dana, daughter Sylvie, and dog Oslo, and spends his free time playing music, rock climbing, playing board games, and following Cincinnati Reds baseball.

This conversation is suitable for all ages.

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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