Lord North, Portrait

Lord North introduced the Tea Act in Parliament. This portrait was painted by Nathaniel Dance-Holland around 1773. Image Source: Wikipedia.

Tea Act of 1773 Facts

May 10, 1773

Key facts and important details about the Tea Act of 1773 for kids doing research and students studying for the AP U.S. History (APUSH) exam.

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What Was the Cause of the Tea Act?

Parliament passed the Townshend Acts in 1767 and 1768. The Townshend Revenue Act of 1767 levied taxes on many products, including glass, paper, paint, and tea. Americans responded with a boycott of British goods — they refused to buy them — which did considerable economic harm to British merchants. In 1770, Parliament repealed the taxes on all products except for tea when it passed the Tea Act in 1773.

Why Did Parliament Keep the Tax on Tea?

Parliament retained the duty on tea to maintain the principle that the British government had the authority to tax the colonies.

Did the Tea Act Raise the Price of Tea?

No, in fact, it lowered the price of tea. However, it forced Americans to buy tea from the East India Company and its network of hand-picked tea agents.

Who Did the Tea Act Help?

The British East India Company and its agents benefitted from the Tea Act. In 1773, Parliament passed the Tea Act, which granted the British East India Company a monopoly on the importation of tea into the colonies. The monopoly enabled the British East India Company to sell tea at a lower price than smuggled tea, and at a lower price than it sold in England. It also allowed the East India Company to choose the agents — or distributors — who sold the tea.

Why Did the Tea Act Anger the Colonists?

The Tea Act upset colonists because Parliament decided to prop up the British East India Company. Colonists were concerned Parliament could do the same in any business, with any other goods or products.

How Did Colonists Respond to the Tea Act?

The colonists responded to the remaining duty on tea by boycotting English tea and drinking smuggled tea, which was encouraged by the Sons of Liberty. By 1773, the British East India Company was in financial distress due in part to the colonial boycotts.

Even though the Tea Act lowered the price of tea, colonists resented the act because it maintained the British position that Britain could tax the colonies without granting them representation in Parliament.

Colonial reaction to the Tea Act led to the Boston Tea Party on December 16, 1773. Similar incidents occurred throughout the colonies, including a second Boston Tea Party that took place in March 1774.

What is the Long Title for the Tea Act?

An act to allow a drawback of the duties of customs on the exportation of tea or oil to any of his Majesty’s colonies or plantations or farms in America; to increase the deposit on bohea tea to be sold at the East India Company’s sales; and to empower the commissioners of the treasury to grant licenses to the East India Company to export tea duty-free.

Who Introduced the Tea Act?

Frederick North, Lord North introduced the Tea Act to Parliament.

What Date Did the Tea Act Go Into Effect?

The Tea Act commenced on May 10, 1773.

Was the Tea Act Repealed Before the American Revolutionary War?

No. It was not repealed until 1861.

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Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Article Title Tea Act of 1773 Facts
  • Coverage May 10, 1773
  • Author
  • Keywords tea act
  • Website Name American History Central
  • Access Date July 7, 2022
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update April 12, 2022
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