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The dumping of the tea in the harbor was the most destructive act that the colonists had taken against Britain thus far. The previous rioting and looting of British officials’ houses over the Stamp Act had been minor compared to the thousands of pounds in damages to the ships and tea. Governor Hutchinson, angered by the colonists’ disregard for authority and disrespect for property, left for England. The “tea party” was a bold and daring step forward on the road to outright revolution.

The Intolerable Acts

The Tea Party had mixed results: some Americans hailed the Bostonians as heroes, while others condemned them as radicals. Parliament, very displeased, passed the Coercive Acts in 1774 in a punitive effort to restore order. Colonists quickly renamed these acts the Intolerable Acts.

Numbered among these Intolerable Acts was the Boston Port Bill, which closed Boston Harbor to all ships until Bostonians had repaid the British East India Company for damages. The acts also restricted public assemblies and suspended many civil liberties. Strict new provisions were also made for housing British troops in American homes, reviving the indignation created by the earlier Quartering Act, which had been allowed to expire in 1770. Public sympathy for Boston erupted throughout the colonies, and many neighboring towns sent food and supplies to the blockaded city.

The Quebec Act

At the same time the Coercive Acts were put into effect, Parliament also passed the Quebec Act. This act granted more freedoms to Canadian Catholics and extended Quebec’s territorial claims to meet the western frontier of the American colonies.

Popular pages: The American Revolution (1754–1781)