The Suitcase Lady


June 30, 2020, 9:17 pm

As we approach the Fourth of July holiday, I believe a historical reenactment is in order. America needs another Boston Tea Party, but with a change of venue. I would propose the Potomac River.

“Taxation Without Representation” was the rallying cry of our first Tea Party. Led by Samuel Adams, the Sons of Liberty were merchants and tradespeople who opposed the onerous taxes imposed by the British government. The Tea Tax was a special windfall for the British Treasury as the colonists drank 1.2 million pounds of tea a year.

The protest began with a boycott of tea from the British East India Company. Dutch Tea was smuggled into America, and Sam Adams and John Hancock were among the smugglers. This action resulted in lots of surplus tea and impending bankruptcy for the British East India Company. The British parliament then reduced the price of tea but retained the tax. Even with the lower price, the colonists preferred to smuggle.

On December 16, 1773, three British ships, the Dartmouth, Beaver and Eleanor, entered the Boston Harbor loaded with tea from China. Thousands of colonists rallied and refused to pay the tax. But their colonial governor ordered the taxes to be paid and the ships unloaded. That night, 100 colonists disguised themselves as Indians, boarded the ships, split opened the chests with their tomahawks and dumped 342 tea chests into the harbor. This act of civil disobedience took 3 hours and involved 45 tons of tea which would cost around a million dollars at today’s prices. No property was damaged (other than the tea), no looting occurred and the ships’ decks were purportedly swept clean by the “Indians” before they disembarked.

If you visit Washington D.C. today, you will notice the residents’ license plates bear the words  “End Taxation Without Representation”. The population is 702,455 and 49% of the population is African American. Wyoming and Vermont have fewer people.  Residents of the District pay taxes and fight in wars, but have no voting members in Congress.

A 51st State is in order. And while we are at it, let’s make it 52 by adding Puerto Rico. It’s time for America to get out of the business of having colonies.

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