This article is brought to you by the years 1770 to 1773!
Welcome to Boston! Even if you don't like chowder, good colleges, or baseball, this town is still interesting. Why? Because this is where it all began. Where all what began, you ask? Well, the whole idea of America really. Back before this country was a country, back when it was just thirteen colonies, many important things happened in this city that made the people finally want to tell Great Britain goodbye. This is where many of the seeds of our country were planted.
What was it like living in the colonies under British rule? Think of it like this. Imagine you have a teacher that teaches at another school. But this teacher still tells you what to study, why, and when. You never see him; you just receive emails that gave you your assignments. And you still get in trouble when you do not want to do your homework! Would you be more or less likely to listen to your teacher if you never saw him? Back before America was a country, the people of America knew that the person who told them what to do, the king, lived all the way across the ocean. Law and order
is when most of the people and leaders in a place follow the laws and rules. Laws are a set of rules that are to be obeyed by a society. Order is the enforcement of the laws, like the police, and the consequence for breaking those laws, like going before a judge and maybe going to jail. Even though the king lived all the way across the ocean, he still tried to control everything the people in America did. This did not lead to law and order in Boston.
Britain was also in charge of what the colonists bought and sold. The colonists had to sell everything they grew to the king, like sugar and cotton. The king would not let them sell to anyone else. The king also made them buy goods from Britain, like cloth, tea, tables, and knives. They could not buy from another person who might sell these things for less. The colonists knew all their money (and they did not have a lot of it) was going to the king. This left them feeling poor and feeling like the country across the sea was growing rich.
So the colonists decided to tell the king they would no longer pay high prices for things they needed. This is when the king's law and order stepped in. The king made more laws and sent more of his soldiers to America. At one point, a colonist got into a fight with a soldier. Soon more soldiers showed up while about fifty colonists gathered to throw things at them. The Boston Massacre
happened on March 5, 1770 when British soldiers opened fire on those Americans, killing five of them. If Americans hated the British before, they really hated them now.
After that, colonists watched very closely how they were being treated by the British. It seemed unfair that a group of people across the water had control over everything they did. Again, imagine that teacher from another school telling you and every other kid in your class what to do. Maybe he is only doing this so that the kids in his class do not have to do as much work. Now, what if you had to buy all of your pens and pencils and books from this teacher too. You were not allowed to buy them from anyone else. A monopoly
is when one company has control over all the buying and selling for one good. This was good for Britain, because they knew the colonists had to keep buying from them, and they would get more and more money to pay for their wars. But the high prices and lack of choice was bad for the colonists, and they decided to do something about it.
Imagine if you also had to buy the things you drank from that teacher from another school. Sure, you could have water any time you wanted, but if you wanted your favorite drink, you would have to buy it from him . . . for a LOT of money. This was what happened tea in America. Colonists wanted it, but the British wanted to charge too much for it. The colonists knew there were a lot more of them than there were of the British, so they greeted the tea ships when they came into the port of Boston. Did they steal the tea and drink it? No. The Boston Tea Party
was when a group of colonists met a ship full of British tea at the dock and threw all the tea into the sea.
What would you do if someone from a very long ways away tried to control you and your class? If this person did not seem to care about you, there would not be much law and order. If they held a monopoly that would mean that they could sell the pens, pencils, and drinks to you at prices that were way higher than they needed to be. They could even pay what they wanted for bake sale cookies, leaving you and your friends with no money to keep for your work. What if teachers from that other school came in and hurt some of your friends, like when British soldiers opened fire on a group of colonists, killing five of them in the Boston Massacre. You might want to fight back, like when the colonists dumped tea into the sea in the Boston Tea Party so Britain would lose a lot of money. If you grouped together with other the other kids in your class, you could do something that changed life in your school . . . and maybe the whole world. References:
Social Studies for Kids. "Boston Massacre" socialstudiesforkids.com, 2011. <http://www.socialstudiesforkids.com/wwww/us/bostonmassacredef.htm
U.S. History Online Textbook. "The
Boston Massacre" ushistory.org, 2016.
U.S. History Online Textbook. "The Tea Act and Tea
Parties" ushistory.org, 2016.