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A Picture from History: Hot Tea & Tyrants

In the 1700s things were heating up between the British and Americans as the Brits continually overstepped in the eyes of America.

And things became even tenser when the Brits imposed a tax on the importation of tea.

Americans were not pleased with the taxes levied on them.

Previously, in 1764, the Sugar Act made it more difficult for Americans everywhere to afford a common household staple.

And the very next year, the Stamp Act was enacted, again adding to the working man’s burden.

A year later, the Declaratory Act passed, granting England absolute power over Americans.

Seeing that the language was almost verbatim of the Irish Declaratory Act – and well-versed in how the English treated the Irish – Americans were rightfully concerned about the future.

Then in 1767, the Townshend Acts came, creating a Customs Commission and punishing New York for refusing to lodge and pay for British soldiers stationed there.

October 1 of that very same year, English soldiers began to arrive in Boston.

British ships land in Boston
British ships of war landing their troops in the Town of Boston in 1768. (Photo: Boston Public Library)

Things were heating up.

And then the Brits wanted to impose a tea tax.

The act of drinking tea was thoroughly ingrained within English culture to the point that rejecting tea was to reject British culture itself.

So, to make a point, Americans began exchanging their regular cup of tea for a cup of coffee.

Print shows satire of American women from Edenton, North Carolina, pledging to boycott English tea. (Photo: Library of Congress)

This boycott so harmed the East India Trading Company that it wasn’t long until 17 million pounds of surplus tea sat in storage within warehouses internationally.

In dire financial straits, the East India Trading Company ran to the king to ask for “help.”

East India Trading Company coat of arms.

The company drastically helped expand England’s power throughout the world. Not to mention, it served as a major source of income for the king.

So, the crown rendered assistance.

The Tea Act of 1773 passed shortly afterward, giving the company a virtual monopoly on the American market.

Boston tea Party
So fed up with the British, Americans dumped tea in the harbor in an event known as the Boston Tea Party (Photo: New York Public Library)

Up until this point, some Americans had still been drinking Dutch tea. But, this act made the switch to coffee permanent for thousands.

John Adams even wrote a letter in 1774 to his wife stating, “Tea must be universally renounced, and I must be weaned, and the sooner, the better.”

John Adams

The habit of daily coffee drinking didn’t end after the War for Independence.

To this day, a majority of Americans drink coffee rather than hot tea.

Concealed Carry Around House
PPT editor Jacki enjoying a nice cup of coffee while reading the site.

This is a new style of article for Pew Pew Tactical; if you liked it — let us know in the comments! If you didn’t enjoy it…well phooey. To catch up on previous Pictures from History, click on over to our History Category.

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18 Leave a Reply

  • Commenter Avatar

    I really love history, and it’s great to learn a bit more than the cursory bit taught in school. Keep more articles like this coming!

    August 26, 2021 6:04 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    I really love history, and it’s great to learn a bit more than the cursory bit taught in school. Keep more articles like this coming!

    August 26, 2021 6:04 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    Editor Jacki must love Froot Loops!

    August 23, 2021 12:21 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Jacki Billings, Editor

      I don't, but my kiddos do!

      August 24, 2021 7:37 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Aden Tate

    Thanks, Davey-o. Yeah, I'm not a fan of the East India Trading Company either.

    August 23, 2021 4:36 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Vincent Alberry

    I love history. It's neat to learn something you didn't know

    August 23, 2021 3:31 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Nigel Ayres

    Absolutely love the historical articles. We can learn a lot from history if we open our minds and I found the subjects reported on so far to be fascinating and enjoyable.

    August 22, 2021 6:55 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Aden Tate

      Thanks, Nigel! Glad you like them!

      August 23, 2021 4:34 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      Those who ignore history are destined to repeat it. Keep the history coming.

      August 24, 2021 5:52 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    LOVE the new story type! Please continue.

    August 22, 2021 6:33 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Aden Tate

      Thanks, Brian! A complement from a fellow Southerner! All right!

      August 23, 2021 4:35 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    Great historical article. How many people would know about this?
    This is the same company that traded opium to the Chinese. When
    a quarter of the country became addicted, the Emperor through
    them out. The East India Trading Company lobbied/bribed the Crown
    to help them get back into China, which they did , backed by British
    troops ergo, the 1st and 2nd Opium Wars. Where have I heard this story
    before? Oh yeah, the Military Industrial Complex.

    August 22, 2021 6:08 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Aden Tate

      Woah, deja vu.

      August 23, 2021 4:35 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    Great background info on the events that led up to Boston’s “Tea Party.” Well written. Additional info on the aftermath of the Tea Party would be of interest - as I sip my coffee….

    August 22, 2021 5:41 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Aden Tate

      Coffee's where it's at. Get it while you can too. Prices on it are only going up.

      August 23, 2021 4:37 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Martin Anderson

    Love the article.

    August 22, 2021 5:30 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Aden Tate

      Thanks, Martin. Your family makes awesome potato chips, by the way.

      August 23, 2021 4:38 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    Great succinct history lesson. What is today’s “tea?” Amazon? Oil? Major Silicon Valley tech platforms?

    August 20, 2021 3:33 pm
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