Apr 21, 2009

Comparing two tea parties

by Tim Mattingly

Besides an unfortunate absence of tar and feathers on April 15, there were some similarities between the historical and modern tea parties.

Consider the Stamp Act in 1765, which imposed taxes upon the American colonies. This piece of legislation was enacted after Great Britain was overwhelmed with national debt as the results of an extensive seven-year war, according to ushistory.org.

Today, America is engaged in a costly war of its own, which has gone on for just over seven years. This tango with terrorism has also resulted in a massive national debt.

The pillars of Great Britain’s economy were tightly bound to the Samson of tea, the East India Company. In order to keep the company from pulling down the economic support of the nation, Britain was forced to enact a bailout of sorts. So the Ministry in Britain allowed the tea-peddling tycoons to export to America without paying any duty, according to the Boston Tea Party Historical Society.

Eventually Britain would give the East India Company a tea monopoly in the colonies, to stimulate the company. If colonists wanted tea, they were forced to buy from the East India Company or make their own.

On the same token, America was forced to directly bail out similar economic supports, such as AIG. Also, Washington continues to discuss the next step it will take to aid failing automotive companies, as President Barack Obama urges Americans to “Buy American” for the sake of stimulating the industry.

Just as colonial America did not take kindly to government taxations and bailouts, some of today’s citizens are also beginning to express their distaste. While the most recent tea parties were not as destructive as the Boston Tea Party, there is still time for tar and feathering to come back into style.

Contact Tim Mattingly at

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