The Boston Tea Party: Lighting the Fuse to Independence

December 16 is the Anniversary of the Boston Tea Party in 1773. On this day in Boston, Massachusetts, a political protest against the British Empire occurred. Citizens of the New World were not happy with Britain imposing a tea tax when they were not being represented in the government. As such, colonists dumped 342 chests of imported tea into the harbor. This event was the first major act of defiance to British rule and lit the fuse to independence. Learn more at

A Brief Breakdown
When the first tea ships arrived in December, the colonists did not let them dock. To send a message to Britain, they decided on a plan. Some chosen colonists dressed like Native Americans and snuck onto the ships at night. They opened over 300 chests full of tea and dumped the tea into the harbor. It was called the Boston Tea Party. King George and the British were very angry. They punished the colonies with new laws. They were called the Intolerable Acts. Boston Harbor was closed. Colonists were ordered to provide housing for British soldiers. This was one of the last straws for the colonists.

The Tea Party
Do some additional research into the events surrounding the Boston Tea Party. Describe these events in your own words. Use quotes from significant figures where applicable. Civilian unrest over taxation without representation was what incited the action, but what happened next and why? Try to see if you can find any information about how Boston residents felt about the Tea Party in its immediate aftermath. Did most civilians agree with what happened? Why or why not? Why might some people not agree with the dumping of the tea?

The Spy Network
The novel Johnny Tremain illustrates the real-life events of the American Revolutionary War. Using historical events and figures as a backdrop, this story intertwines reality and fiction as it views the events of America’s fight for independence through the eyes of a young boy. In this activity, your task will be to imagine the threads that tie a spy network together. You don’t need to read the novel to complete this task, but a bit of research into the real-life events surrounding the Boston Tea Party will be required. Download this activity here.

American Revolutionary War Bonus Worksheets
Download these free bonus worksheets from our ready-made lesson plan American Revolutionary War to complete your unit on the Boston Tea Party. Re-create the Continental Congress in Philadelphia by taking on the role of one of the thirteen colonies to represent at the Congress. Be a reporter and cover the story surrounding the events of the Boston Tea Party. Create a mini diorama depicting the Boston Tea Party. Download these free bonus worksheets here.

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