Saturday, April 18, 2009

The REAL Boston Tea Party

With all the coverage of tea parties it is an excellent teaching moment to talk about the revolutionary roots of the real Boston Tea Party and initiate a discussion about whether Britain could have been removed from the American colonies nonviolently. (This is one of Colman McCarthy’s discussion questions in lesson 6 of the Class of Nonviolence.)

There are several (relatively) new resources that discuss this very question. “The Real Revolution: The Global Story of American Independence” by Marc Aronson (2005: Clarion) makes a brilliant connection between the tea grown in India and taxed in Boston, a foreshadowing of the military-industrial complex described by Eisenhower almost 200 years later.

Mark Kurlansky’s “Nonviolence: 25 lessons from the history of a dangerous idea” (2007: Modern Library) .covers the nonviolent prelude to the American Revolution in chapter IV. It’s also available as an audio book, and this chapter is on disk 3, tracks 11-19 (or 3k-3s, depending on how your CD player reads the disk.) It’s 11 pages, just over a ½ hour of audio.

Ray Raphael wrote “A People’s History of the American Revolution" (2001: Perennial) tells the story from the view of the common people. The Boston Tea Party is covered in Chapter 4. Raphael’s web site has middle-high school lesson plans for each chapter.

To bring this right up to date, Thom Hartmann's essay, "The Real Boston Tea Party was an Anti-Corporate Revolt" can be read on Common

This 3-minute Schoolhouse Rock video about the causes of the Boston Tea Party is fun and accurate.

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